The chairwoman of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says it will be difficult to decide the fate of the 10 groups vying for a new state casino license. Commission chairwoman Diane Hamilton of Storm Lake and the other four commissioners who’ll make the decision just sat through 45-minute-long presentations from each of the 10 applicants. “You can tell how excited these people are and how desperate they are for jobs, economic development, helping their town economically,” Hamilton says. Hamilton says the hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday was just the first step in a long process. On April 6th and 7th, the commissioners will board a bus to visit each of the 10 proposed sites. On April 20th and 21st, the regulators will be briefed in private from state agents who’ve reviewed the backgrounds of those who are making the applications. That could eliminate some applicants. The Commission, at this point, is scheduled to make its decision on May 11th, and Hamilton says the panel may compare notes beforehand.”We’ll have time to visit as a commission during our bus trip about what we think about the sites and so forth,” Hamilton says. A public hearing is also scheduled on May 4th to give backers and opponents of each proposal a chance to air their opinions. Commissioners will also have a chance to question each of the applicants in public during that hearing. Commissioners did not ask questions during the two-days-worth of presentations the concluded yesterday afternoon.
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