The Republican leader in the Iowa Senate says there is “gaming fatigue within the Capitol” and that’s why a temporary moratorium on new casino licenses was quickly passed last week.
“People just said, ‘We want a pause and see how this shakes out over the next couple of years,” Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver said on this past weekend’s “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS.
Whitver noted there was zero push back during Senate debate of the moratorium. “There were a couple of changes that the casinos wanted to make this year that really aren’t that drastic of changes, but one thing that our people wanted to see is they don’t believe we need another casino right now,” Whitver said.
There are 19 state-licensed casinos operating in Iowa today. The moratorium on new licenses would last until July of 2024 — if the governor signs the bill into law. In
August of 2019, sports betting became legal and Whitver cited that as a factor.
“Especially after the sports gaming bill that passed, there’s so many ads, so much talk about gaming, that people said: ‘We just need to put a pause on this,'” Whitver said.
And legislators this year tabled the casinos request to allow wagering on video game completions or E-sports.
“Over the last few years there’s been a lot of changes to our gaming laws in the state of Iowa, and then there have been changes that will affect Iowa, like Nebraska bringing casinos on board,” Whitver said. “And so there’s a litte — a lot of gaming fatigue within the Capitol.”
On Monday, dozens of local investors and Cedar Rapids officials said they intend to apply fo a casino license as soon as state law allows. The plans for a$ 250 million casino and entertainment complex in downtown Cedar Rapids include flood control measures.