The chairman of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says if legislators don’t lift the moratorium on new gambling licenses, it’s no sure bet the commission will. The bill that’s to be considered in the Iowa House on Thursday covers a range of gambling-related issues, including the idea of granting up to five new riverboat gambling licenses, but the bill does not lift the moratorium on new gambling licenses the Gaming Commission now has in place. Mike Mahaffey says the commission has said it would revisit the issue if the legislature “weighed in” on the moratorium. Mahaffey says it’s a major public policy decision and they need the input of the 150 legislators rather than making the decision among a five-member appointed panel. Mahaffey says it appears as if the commission will get “some specific direction” from the legislature, but if lawmakers fail to lift the moratorium, Mahaffey says he can’t honestly say what the commission would do. If legislators fail to pass a bill that addresses gambling expansion, Mahaffey says it doesn’t seem to him as if there’d be any pressure on the commission to do anything. Mahaffey says two-thirds to three-fifths of the phone calls, letters and e-mail he’s received is from Iowans who tell him Iowa has enough gambling. Mahaffey made his comments today on Iowa Public Television.
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