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March 10, 2008 ;

JOHNSTON, IA - The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission decided last week to suspend issuing licenses for new casinos and to request an impact study on new casinos. The study would report on the effects of new casinos on the existing casinos in Iowa and the effects on local communities.

The commissioners cited concerns about the sluggish economy on the state's existing casinos, and concerns about the decrease in gambling revenues at some casinos after approving new casinos three years ago.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Newton, Ottumwa, Tama, and Franklin County who are seeking new licenses for their communities. They want the jobs and economic opportunities promised by new casinos. Voters have already approved casinos for Tama, Ottumwa and Franklin County, and Jasper County will vote on a Newton casino on April 8th.

The decision by the five-member commission to commission a study will postpone any future casino licenses by at least a year. It will take that amount of time to commission the study, perform the research, and review the findings.

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