Warring sides in the statehouse gambling debate have apparently struck a deal. But that deal squeezes out the five Iowa counties that have passed referendums in hopes of landing a new gambling operation in their area. The proposal would bar any new gambling operations, while at the same time allow the state’s race track casinos to add table games to their casinos. Representative Scott Raecker, a republican from Urbandale, says the gambling bill has “evolved” into something a bit different than it started out to be. Raecker says the proposal provides “equity and parity” to the state’s gambling industry. The proposal would set the tax rate for the race tracks in Altoona and Council Bluffs at 24 percent, if both, as expected, add table games. The track in Dubuque would pay a 22 percent state tax on adjusted gross receipts. The tax rate for all the riverboats would go up a tad to 22 percent, and eventually all the gambling boats could become stationary. Representative Ed Fallon, a democrat from Des Moines, was among those who wanted to “put the brakes” on any gambling expansion. Fallon says he’s “fascinated” by how much time the Legislature spends talking about gambling issues. Another amendment to be considered this afternoon (Thursday) or evening would allow up to five new riverboat gambling facilities in the state.
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