Tama County denied gaming license - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tama County denied gaming license


JOHNSTON (KWWL) -- The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is expanding gambling in Iowa once again, but not as far as some had hoped. The commission approved a gaming license for only Lyon County in far northwest Iowa.

Tama, Webster, and Wapello were all denied licenses.

With a unanimous vote the hope of creating a gaming destination in Tama County was shot down. Supporters of the plan say they did not know how commissioners would vote but understand their concerns.

"I think today's vote is an indication of this general concern about the Iowa economy, about the Iowa gaming economy, with financing in general, about economic conditions in Iowa and outside of gaming. I think you heard that clearly from all the commissioners," said John Pavone, Tama County Casino Developer.

Representatives of the Meskawki Tribe also attended the hearing. They say their casino has already felt an impact with the opening of The Isle Casino in Waterloo.

"We weren't hurt too much, but we could see our customers were dwindling also," said Adrian Pushetoneque of the Sax and Fox Tribe.

Supporters of the Tama casino say they haven't given up just yet.

"Unfortunately we came up short, but it's not over till it's over. We don't know what will happen in the legislature or the gaming commission in the future. These gaming commissioners had a very difficult job," said Pavone.

Currently there are 17 state casinos and this new one will make 18. Right now there is no moratorium on new gaming licenses so that means the future of gaming in Iowa is still uncertain.

The chair of the Racing and Gaming Commission says it will be three to five years before the commission considers any new license applications.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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