State gambling regulators on Wednesday got a close look at half of the sites vying for a new casino. Regulators stopped in Fort Dodge and Emmetsburg before making their way to Worth County yesterday afternoon to look at the proposed Diamond Jo Worth casino site. Commission vice-chair Kate Cutler says the commissioners wanted to get a hands-on look at each of the sites before making the decision about how many licenses to approve. She’s looking to get a feel for what it looks like, explaining the presentations were very sophisticated but commissioners want to get a look at the sites themselves. “It’s kinda like a Field of Dreams,” she laughs, saying they may come if it’s built but she wants to see it first. Cutler says the commissioners will be judging a lot of criteria in making their decision.Economic impact, the number of jobs created, the potential market, the economic-development that comes with any casino, and the strength of the proposals themselves. She says they want to know if the plans are based on numbers that can be validated. She notes such factors may be especially critical in cases like Franklin and Worth Counties, where proposed casino market areas overlap. Cutler hinted that at least one license most likely will be issued at the end of the process.She says on May 4 they’ll have a public hearing and after that likely will say how many licenses they’ve decided to give out. She says it’s still difficult at this point to say how many they may grant. Commissioners last night also stopped in Franklin County to look at the proposed site for the Landmark Gaming casino near I-35. Today, the commissioners head for Waterloo, Riverside, and Ottumwa.
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