The chair of the State Racing and Gaming Commission says they’ll discuss the possibility of granting more casino gambling licenses at their meeting in March. Kate Cutler of Council Bluffs says it’s a discussion the commission promised at their November meeting. Cutler says there are many counties that have passed referendums, and many have asked when the commission might again reconsider adding gambling licenses.
Cutler says when the commission granted the for new licenses in May of 2005, they wanted time to see how the new casinos did before adding any new licenses. Cutler says she wants a discussion among commission members on the possibility of adding licenses. Cutler says it’ll be a "high level, more general" meeting to get an idea of what the commission wants to do with limited public input on the positives and negatives of gaming.
Cutler says it they go ahead, they’ll need more information before adding licenses. Cutler says they’ll need information on money numbers, geographical area information they don’t have and are not prepared to do a study on. She says they just want to get a sense of the feeling of the commission. Cutler says it would likely take a year or so before they would even get to the point of awarding new licenses. She says the timing would likely keep them from any final decision before this year is out.
Cutler says since they don’t hold a meeting in December, they would have to grant applications in November, and she doesn’t see that happening. Cutler says it would be likely they would have "full blown presentations" in 2008. Cutler says the commission feels they owe it to the people who want to make an application to listen to them — even though there is bound to be criticism of the move.
Cutler says a lot of the questions will be the same as before, whether the state has enough gaming. Cutler says a new question is whether the state is now saturated with gambling. And Cutler says the discussion doesn’t mean there will be new licenses granted. Cutler says the commission can not grant new licenses if that’s what they want to do. Three of the four new casinos are now up and operating, with the final casino in Waterloo now projected to open in May.