The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved another one-year term as chairman for Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny Thursday. Lamberti’s election followed a change in rules approved by a legislative committee on July 8th that doubled the term-limit for the chair from 2 to 4 years.
“Apparently going way back in history there was a chairman who served a significant length of time, so at some point they put in a two-year (limit). Quite frankly I would have been happy not to serve again as chair,” Lamberti says. “It was really because of the significant issues that were on our plate at the time that the commission wanted to extend that.”
Lamberti says he is willing to lead the regulators through for a another year. “I am eligible now for two more years, I don’t think it is my intention to serve for two more years as chairman. But, I agreed to do it for one more year,” according to Lamberti.
Among the issues of concern for the commission were the applications for new licenses and the ongoing legal action over the closing of the Sioux City casino riverboat. The riverboat shut down Wednesday after several legal challenges. The new Hard Rock Casino in downtown Sioux City opens today — while the legal action continues.
“They are entitled to proceed with their lawsuits,” Lamberti says. “The one involving the commission goes to trial in September. At this point it looks like it is going forward and they are certainly entitled to continue with that lawsuit.”
Lamberti says the new casino in Sioux City has advantages over the old riverboat. “Obviously when you go land-based, it just gives you more opportunities for amenities. Boats are pretty restrictive on what they can offer,” Lamberti explains. “And that has been the movement throughout the last few years about adding those amenities, with concert venues, restaurants, those kinds of things. So, I think they are going to see a very nice facility, which is what we are moving for on all of these.”
Lamberti is a lawyer and former state legislator. He made his comments at the commission’s meeting Thursday.