State Ag Secretary Patty Judge, a Democratic candidate for governor, opposes the idea of a moratorium on new gambling licenses in Iowa. The state Racing and Gaming Commission this spring awarded four new licenses for casinos, and commissioners have said they don’t want to grant any more licenses. Judge says communities which pass all the hurdles should not be denied a gambling license. She doesn’t believe the state should “run out” and issue more licenses. But Judge says if a county passes a gambling referendum and develops a plan for a casino that’s “well-financed” then state officials shouldn’t deny that community the opportunity to benefit from the gambling industry. Judge says this is not a new position for her. “I fought like a banshee for Osceola to have their license for their facility when I was in the state legislature,” Judge says. “If we legalized gambling in the state of Iowa…then if a community wants that facility…and they can meet the state requirements, then they have a right to a license.” In May, state regulators denied gambling license applications from Franklin, Wapello and Webster Counties. “I don’t think that withholding licenses because we’re afraid of competition is appropriate,” Judge says.
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