Backers of a failed attempt to win a casino license in Black Hawk County today (Thursday) asked the state Racing and Gaming Commission to allow them to reopen the Waterloo greyhound track. Dave Nagle represents a group affiliated with the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo that wants to restart dog racing. He says they’re attempting to get ahead of the commission’s July discussion on a new moratorium on gambling licenses. The group Nagle represents was one of three to submit a proposal for a new gambling license — but the commission awarded a license to just one of the groups. Nagle says this is a new plan.He says, “This isn’t the application we submitted previously to the commission. When we submitted our application to the commission it was for a parimutuel facility as a second phase — but it was predominately for a casino gaming operation. You were never given the opportunity to consider whether or not you would consider or whether there was merit in restoring a parimutuel facility in Black Hawk County.” Nagle read a letter from the Iowa Greyhound Association saying a second track is needed for the six months that the Dubuque greyhound track is not running. Live racing ended at the Waterloo dog track in 1994 after the track had financial difficulties. Commission chair Diane Hamilton, of Storm Lake, asked Nagle how they could be sure the track would survive if reopened.”It’s no secret that the dog track in the mid 1990’s was being financially very badly mismanaged by an individual who has subsequently encountered further legal difficulties in states in which he’s appeared, ” he says, “And we think with good management it’s very viable.” The legal counsel for the group told commission they’re on shaky legal ground if they chose not to consider the request. Nagle says he wants to see what the commission does before they take any other action.He says he wants to work with the commission first and says, “I’m not ready to even discuss the nuclear option.” He says he hopes the commission gives them a fair hearing on their proposal. Commission administrator Jack Keterer is out of town and the commission took no action on Nagle’s request. Commission chair Hamilton says they need more information. She says the need to get an opinion on the issue from their legal counsel and also need to talk to Keterer. Hamilton says she thought they explained the process already. She says, “You know I think what we said at the May 4th meeting was very clear, that we were not taking additional applications.” The commission will meet again in July, at which time they’re expected to discuss putting a moratorium on new licenses.
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