Iowa communities vying for a new casino now take their battle to the state Senate. The House voted Thursday not to grant new gambling licenses, but some lawmakers still hold out hope. Waterloo Democrat Bill Dotzler says the five counties that have approved gambling referendums still have a shot at getting a casino. Dotzler says people happy or sad about the removal of licenses from the bill are premature, as he says the bill goes to the Senate now, will likely return to the House and may even appear in the state senate again. The bill the House adopted allows Iowa’s racetracks to add table games. In return, the tracks will forgive more than 150-million dollars the state was ordered to repay them for taxes the state supreme court ruled it couldn’t collect. Senator Dotzler says it’s a good compromise and should counter the tracks’ opposition to new gambling establishments, which were in the bill’s original version. He can see the new licenses being returned to the bill. Dotzler says he’s heard rumors that the Senate might even add seven instead of five, though he doesn’t think it’ll happen, as the house or conference committee might cut back the number. expects the senate to try and amend the house bill back to it’s original language which allowed for up to five new gaming licenses. Meanwhile representative Don Shoultz, a democrat from Waterloo, says he believes if the Senate approves new gaming licenses the House may be willing to go along with that. Shoultz says he sees more budget headaches ahead and like it or not, gambling means more money for the state. Representative Shoultz says some conservatives may be opposed to gambling but it’s a better way to raise money than increasing taxes. .
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