The leader of Democrats in the Iowa Senate doesn’t put good odds on the idea of allowing gambling machines in Iowa bars and taverns. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says the legislature is “highly unlikely” to approve such a move.
“I think the legislature dealt with that a couple of years ago,” Gronstal says.
In 2006, the Iowa legislature voted to get rid of the Iowa Lottery’s TouchPlay machines which were similar to slot machines and were installed not only in bars, but convenience stores and grocery stores.
“I think people will remember that in the legislature and (say), ‘Let’s not go back there,'” Gronstal says.
This latest idea — allowing gambling machines in bars — was partly proposed as a money-maker for the state, since taxes would be collected on the winnings. In addition, some bar owners have complained the state’s smoking ban has harmed business and backers say the gambling machines in “adults-only” establishments like bars would bring in new customers. Gronstal doesn’t think the idea has gotten the backing of many legislators.
“I didn’t see a lot of people salute it when it got run up the flagpole,”Gronstal says.
Gronstal’s the guest on this weekend’s edition of “Iowa Press” on Iowa Public Television where he briefly discusses this topic and others which may come up during the 2010 legislative session. The Iowa House and Senate are scheduled to convene on Monday at the capitol in Des Moines.