The Davenport company hired to conduct a socio-economic study of gambling in Iowa has cancelled its contract with the state. Per-Mar is a “security and research corporation,” and stepped aside after revelation that another of its divisions provides surveillance cameras and security cards for some casinos. State Senate Majority Leader Stewart Iverson says he still believes Per Mar could have produced an objective study but accepts their decision to bow out. Iverson says he’s not sure you could find anyone to do an important study or any project who didn’t have conflicts, pointing out lawmakers often have conflicts but their responsibility is to see that the good of the citizens of Iowa overweighs those conflicts. Iverson says he thinks whoever does the study would probably do a decent job. The study will now be conducted by the University of Northern Iowa, which came in last summer second to Per Mar in a competitive bidding process.He wants it done as quickly as possible “but we also want them to do a good job.” But the republican from Dows points out the university receives gambling revenues indirectly, through state appropriations.He suspects someone will complain about the UNI study, too, saying when there’s a gambling study “somebody’s gonna complain.” Iverson says he just wants to get a fair and objective report the legislature and the state gaming commission can use. Senator Iverson says he still believes the study can be completed by next spring. Per-Mar planned to produce a report with cooperation from three professors at St-Ambrose University in Davenport. While changing to a new survey provider will add to the time it takes, some members of the state racing and gaming commission have said they want to see the results of the study before awarding any new gambling licenses in Iowa. It’s not clear what the commission will do about licenses, and while the 30-day delay may not be an impediment Iverson says perhaps the UNI researchers can use some of the date collected already by the St-Ambrose folks.
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