The Iowa Legislature finished the session by flipping one of the biggest hot potatoes back to the Racing and Gaming Commission — whether there’ll be new gambling licenses awarded. Governor Tom Vilsack says the first thing the Racing and Gaming Commission must do is to review the gambling market again to see what it can support. He says they’ll have to take a look to see if additional licenses will take revenue away from existing facilities. He says what we don’t want to do is “rob Peter to pay Paul.” Six counties have passed referendums that would qualify them for a new license. Vilsack says the market study should drive everything. He says if they determine that there’s additional capacity in the state, that will define the number of additional licenses. He says they’ll just have to make a determination on the best places in the state to locate the additional facilities. Vilsack says he has confidence the commission will do the right thing.He says that will be a tough set of choices they’ll have to make, but he says they’re “good people, and they’re smart people, and they’ll not shirk their responsibility, they’ll make the decision.” The chair of the Racing and Gaming Commission says they’ll take the issue up first thing at their June meeting. The commission doesn’t meet in May.
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