Will more casinos in Iowa hurt current industry? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Will more casinos in Iowa hurt current industry?


OSCEOLA (KWWL) - Can Iowa sustain more casinos?

That's the question before Iowa Racing and Gaming Commissioners as they tray to determine to issue more licenses.

What they are hearing is that the industry is doing better in Iowa than other parts of the country.

"You've got to think about the current economic environment in a very deliberate and calm fashion as you approach this analysis," said Lou Frillman from GVA Marquette Advisors.

Frillman is one of the consultants hired by the state to examine whether more casinos would pay off for Iowa.

He said the current economic crisis should not trigger a quick decision.

"When everyone else is in panic, you should sit down and relax," said Frillman.

Racing and Gaming Commissioners heard flat revenues for the Iowa casino industry is actually good news.

Other states are seeing a 15-20 % drop.

That's welcome news for groups in Franklin and Tama counties wanting to build casinos in their community.

"We do understand the cannibalization effect on Waterloo but lets face it we're 46 miles from the largest underserved market in the state of iowa," said Tama developer John Pavone. "So we think between that and the ability to work tthe Trbe and create a greater critical mass as ahas been done in Council Bluffs speeaks volumes for Tama."

Pavone said the downturn hasn't impacted financing for a casino to be build near downtown Tama.

Franklin County developers remain hopeful that their proposal that did not produce a license in 2005 will win one if a new round of licenses issued.

Meantime, the commission will want to hear all the analysis before making a decision.

"That's not a question that's easily answered," said commission administrator Jack Ketterer. "We don't expect to have a crystal ball for all that. All we can do is gather as much infomation as we can right now to make an informed decision."

That decision could come as soon as June. Even then the process would take several months to determine if their application meets state guidelines.

Online Executive Producer Nate Leding

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