Some casino workers who were left without jobs after Hurricane Katrina hammered Mississippi may find work in Iowa. Wes Ehrecke of the Iowa Gaming Association says he’s not sure how many of the workers there would be. He says they’re working with the appropriate agencies including the Racing and Gaming Commission to get the licensing handled to make it a seamless transition. Ehrecke says the workers may only come to Iowa temporarily, or they may decided to stay. The Isle of Capri which owns Iowa casinos in Bettendorf, Marquette and is building a new casino in Waterloo, is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi. Officials says their headquarters were only slightly damaged, but their casinos there are out of commission indefinitely. Ehrecke says Iowa’s doing what it can to help those without a job. He says the evacuees may not have their I-D’s with them so the Racing and Gaming Commission says they’ll work with them to properly identify the workers. Ehrecke says they don’t want to take jobs away from Iowans who want to work in the casinos, but he says they do want to help out people who’ve been hit by the tragedy. He says whether it’s temporary or not, at least they can be part of the job pool because of the job skills that they have. While some casino workers may head to Iowa from the South, Ehrecke isn’t sure if casino patrons would seek Iowa out as an alternative.He says the opportunity might exist as a marketing opportunity to attract people who might want to come to the state. A spokesperson for the Isle of Capri says the casinos in Mississippi are all self-insured for damage and loss of business, so their destruction will have no impact on the company’s operation of the Iowa casinos.
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