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Iowa considers licensing more casinos

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June 8, 2009

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission began discussions last week about the possibility of licensing new casinos. Iowa has 17 casinos, but studies by two state-paid consultants show possible increases in revenue if more casinos were licensed. The commission will decide in July whether to increase the number of licenses and begin accepting applications.

The casino industry now generates $1.4 billion in gambling revenue and pays $300 million a year in gambling taxes to the Iowa. A study by The Innovation Group of Colorado estimates an additional casino in Polk County would generate up to $160 million in new state revenue.

Voters have approved casino referendums in recent elections to authorize licenses in Franklin, Lyon and Tama counties, and in Fort Dodge and Ottumwa.

A proposed casino near Larchwood in Lyon County hopes to qualify for a new license. The proposed $90 million casino and resort would have 800 slot machines, 24 card tables, and employ around 400 employees,.

Glenn Anderson, Economic Director of Lyon County, said "It's moving forward for us, we feel good about the reports. We feel that we've done our homework. And not only that, we have the support of the residents. We have exclusive agreements with the board of supervisors and the city of Larchwood."

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