Don't believe me? Just ask investors in Ottumwa, Fort Dodge, Tama County and Storm Lake. They all appear to be planning to apply for casino licenses (some of them for the second time) in March when the Commission meets to discuss new licenses. The Register has the story.
One proponent of gambling had this to say:
"As a taxpayer, I just think we need to bring people to the area. We have a lot of things going on in Storm Lake, and a casino will enhance everything that is going on," said Cal Johnson of Storm Lake, a leader of pro-gambling forces.
If by "a lot of things," you mean bankruptcies, substance abuse and domestic abuse, then yes, Cal, having a casino will "enhance everything that is going on."
On the firmly pro-gambling side of the fence, the Iowa City Press Citizen has written another glowing advertisement for the wonder that is the new casino in Riverside:
Investors and special guests bubbled with excitement Thursday night as they were the first to eat and play on opening night of the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort.
"You can't compare it. It's fantastic. Better than Las Vegas," Louie Roby of West Point said...
Iowa Racing and Gaming commissioner Kate Cutler said the commission is excited about the Riverside casino and resort opening.
With a variety of features, including a spa and golf course, Cutler said she thought the facility "was wonderful ... the most wonderful thing to bring to Eastern Iowa."
At least, the most wonderful thing that comes with increased bankruptcies, domestic abuse and substance abuse.
This is a rare case where I agree with Jim Nussle. Perhaps Iowa is not in a position to live without the gambling revenue it's generating right now. But we are in a position to draw the line.
A seat on the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission opens up in May of 2007. Let's nominate Nick Johnson to fill it. I'm just now noticing that he has a column up on the casino this morning as well.