State gambling regulators have set May 11th as the date to decide the fate of 10 groups asking for a new state casino license. Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Jack Ketterer says they could approve all — or none. Iowa law gives the commission the authority to set the “number, location and type” of gambling licenses that it grants. “It’s pretty broad lattitude,” Ketterer says. He says the applicants have made “impressive” plans for the new casinos they hope to open in Iowa. “You can tell that they spent a lot of time and effort,” Ketterer says. “There have been some creative proposals, things that have been put in that, you know, we haven’t seen before.” For example, the group hoping to land a casino in Riverside, just south of Iowa City, proposes a golf course as part of the project. Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission chairwoman Diane Hamilton says the commission members have loads of material to wade through to compare and contrast the applications. “And on May 11th, there are going to be a good deal of people (who) are very pleased, and then a great deal of people who are probably going to be very disappointed and I’m really very sorry about that,” Hamilton says. “It really will have nothing to do with who’s involved in the project…It will have more to do with the project.” Next week — on April 6th and 7th — the five Commission members will board a bus to visit the proposed sites for those casinos. Ketterer says back in the 1980s when there were a dozen applications to the state for race tracks, the officials appointed to make that decision boarded a plane to fly to each proposed track site. Then, in the 1990s, the Racing and Gaming Commission traveled to Pottawattamie County to vist the six proposed riverboat casino sites. “The feedback from the commission members in both instances was very positive. After the process was over, they were very happy they got to see the locations where the projects were proposed,” Ketterer says.
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