State lawmakers say an old gambling license at the greyhound dog park in Waterloo will not stand in the way of a proposed new riverboat in Black Hawk County. When the gambling bill was unveiled nearly two weeks ago, Waterloo senator Bill Dotzler says he was concerned about a provision of the bill that requires any new riverboat to be at least fifty miles away from an existing license holder—the old track’s license would have taken Black Hawk county out of the running.Dotzler, a democrat, took his concerns to the bill’s author — representative Scott Raecker, a republican from Urbandale. Raecker then turned to the state racing and gaming commission, which provided the minutes of a 1996 meeting that show there is no current license held in Blackhawk county. He says that license has been revoked. Raecker says if someone wanted to reopen the greyhound park they would have to apply for a new license — and would have to amend the bill that’s up for debate in the house because it only provides for five new riverboats, not any new racetracks. The Meskwaki casino in Tama is within the 50 mile protected zone around existing gambling operations, and though it’s exempt from the measure, there’s an amendment that could change that, which would again take Waterloo out of the running. He says the Tama casino should join in the racing and gaming committee and pay taxes if they want protection from new nearby casinos. Representative Raecker agrees and says the committee that approved the gambling bill only intended it to apply to casinos that are regulated by the state. The Iowa house debates a massive gambling bill tomorrow (Thursday).
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