An Iowa Senate committee is scheduled to consider a change for the state-licensed casinos in Iowa that could bring an end to "riverboat" gambling here. Senator Mike Connolly, a Democrat from Dubuque , a city with two gambling enterprises, says it’s time to stop requiring the casinos to be surrounded by water.
"I think most Iowans recognize that this is kind of foolishness to continue to require this," Connolly says. Iowa first legalized "riverboat gambling" in 1989 and required that the gambling boats not only float, but cruise up and down a river. Today, the casinos are not required cruise and — if the bill becomes law — the ones that are essentially barges placed on a lake would no longer have to maintain what the industry refers to as "bladders" to give the appearance that the gambling hall is floating on water.
"There are current projects in Iowa in Worth County and in Clinton County and in Dubuque County where this would add considerable expense," Connolly says. Connolly contends Iowa casinos are at a competitive advantage because they must maintain the appearance they’re floating on water.
"They say you can’t travel anywhere in the United States of America — 300 miles in any direction that you won’t encounter a casino," Connolly says. "We’ve had a big change in Iowa and in the country in our outlook on gambling." Members of the Senate State Government Committee are scheduled to consider the bill later Wednesday at an 11:30 a.m. meeting in the state capitol.