A Senate committee Tuesday voted against adding any new casino licenses while signing off on the gambling bill that sets new tax rates for Iowa’s casinos and allows the racetracks to have table games. Senator Jack Kibbee, a democrat from Emmetsburg, wanted to authorize up to five new casinos. He says each casino could mean 350 new jobs.Kibbee says rural areas are “dying on the vine” and potential casino jobs are important. Kibbe says legislators are “falling all over one another to give tax breaks for big corporations to keep and add jobs in this state,” while the more than one thousand jobs at stake in the proposed casinos “aren’t asking for one dime of taxpayer money.” But State Government Committee chair Mark Zieman (zee’man), a republican from Postville, worries the bill would fail in the house if it authorizes any new casino licenses.Zieman says if the new licenses are left in the bill it will “poison the bill” and take all its good features down with it. Republicans on the committee voted down the idea of allowing new casinos and sent the bill unchanged to the full Senate. Despite the setback, residents of counties that have approved gaming remain optimistic new licenses will still be granted. Worth County development director Kim Miller says this is just another bump in the road.She’s not worried or even close to giving up, because the bill can still be amended, on the Senate floor. But the committee vote was a setback for those hoping to add new casino licenses. Senator Bill Dotzler, a democrat from Waterloo, says it’ll be an uphill battle now.Dotzler says Senators are trying to put together a bill that satisfied concerns of lawmakers in the House, and he accuses House members of being “more finicky than GoldieLocks.” Conservative republicans in the house have said the only expansion they intend to approve is adding table games at the state’s three racetracks.
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