Iowa Looks to Increase Casino Licenses


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Due to its tremendous successes in the casino business, Iowa is considering the possibility of issuing more new licenses. The state already has 20 casino operations within its borders, including 14 riverboats, 3 racetrack casinos, and 3 Indian casinos, and is examining the potential effects of expanding to new locations.

The Iowa Racing and Gambling Commission has scheduled a March hearing to review the arguments concerning the creation of new licenses. According to the chairman of the commission, Kate Cutler, analyzation of current casino revenues and their trends will help decide the proper course for the future.

Revenues have not significantly increased at state casinos, but the last expansion, involving four new casinos which opened in 2005, brought in massive new revenue without affecting the income from the locations already open. This indicates new gambling venues have tended to draw new business, rather than just transfer existing customers.

Several civic areas have already expressed interest in joining the gaming community, including Ottumwa, Fort Dodge and Tama.

Over 22 million patrons were admitted to Iowa gambling establishments last year, and over $1.3 billion was spent at these locations. The only negative staements from within the industry regarding possible expansion came from administrators at the racetrack locations. They noted that increased competition was a worry.

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