There appears to be some steam behind the idea of getting rid of the state requirement that Iowa’s riverboat casinos cruise on the rivers or lakes on which they sit. Governor Tom Vilsack this morning called the “excursions” of the Lakeside Casino in Osceola “ridiculous” and “absurd.” A key Republican legislator agrees. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says Iowans are having a difficult time understanding why the boats must cruise. He says the cruises are “a bit of a fig leaf” attached when riverboat gambling was established in Iowa in 1989. Rants says riverboat gambling “was sold to Iowans as sort of this Mark Twain traveling up and down the big paddle boat on the Mississippi River.” He says that’s not what’s happening. Rants says the boats’ excursions are a big expense, and very few people get on the boats for a cruise on the river.Rants says no one goes to the Belle of Sioux City for Sunday brunch to cruise up and down the Missouri River. Rants believes legislators could strike a deal for a higher state tax rate for the casino boats if the cruising requirement is lifted. A public hearing begins at the statehouse at five o’clock this afternoon to let Iowans state their opinions about gambling issues.
You are here: / / Top legislator joins call to riverboat cruise requirements