Governor Tom Vilsack predicts lawmakers will approve a gambling bill that will allow an unlimited number of new riverboat casinos in the state. The House in late February passed a gambling bill that forbid riverboat expansion, The bill’s been hung up in the Senate ever since. Vilsack says he’s confident that by the end of the week there’ll be a gaming proposal that will life the moratorium on new riverboat licenses, but will not specify how many more may be issued — leaving that decision up to the Racing and Gaming Commission. Vilsack says he’s willing to sit down with key players to try to hammer something out. Vilsack says he’s happy to do whatever they need him to do to get the matter resolved. A few weeks ago Vilsack predicted the final bill would include permission for one or two new riverboat operations. Vilsack says it would be wiser policy for elected officials to set the number of new licenses, but if lawmakers are unable or unwilling to do it, Vilsack says he’ll do whatever it takes. Vilsack says there’s a lot of work yet to be done on a related bill that spends state gambling taxes on infrastructure. For example, Vilsack says a House spending plan for that money shorts environmental programs by 40 million dollars.
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