The issue of gambling is back in the news. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is about to determine whether or not Iowa can “support” more casinos in the state. The frontrunner to receive a new gaming license is Lyon County, which has a population of less than 12,000 people.
It shouldn’t surprise you that the person who wants to build the casino in Lyon County is Chet Culver’s buddy Dan Kehl. Trust me on this one, if it looks as if another casino could bleed some money from South Dakota, Minnesota, and the 11,234 people who live in Lyon County, Culver’s going to make sure that it gets done.
Culver is desperate for cash, and I’m sure, in his mind, he would love to find $60 million more in state gaming revenues to pay for his new bonding proposal, so when the crap hits the fan, he can use those revenues to bailout his state budget.
The other interesting tidbit is that Kehl continues to talk about his proposal to lease the Iowa Lottery from the state. Kehl implies that the only reason the proposal didn’t move forward was because Culver was able to find other money to cover his rear end. Which means that if state receipts continue to lag, the lottery lease could be back on the table.
State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald thinks that leasing the lottery would bring in an upfront payment of $1 billion. It sounds like a lot of money, but it wouldn’t even pay for the previous two Culver budgets. Additionally, I don’t know if I want Mike Fitzgerald anywhere near an investment of this size. I mean, he already screwed over state employees by gambling away millions of their retirement savings.
Culver’s continued budget mess means one thing – the expansion of gambling in the state. Some believe the Racing and Gaming Commission will not grant new licenses. I say hogwash. Culver needs a huge influx of money if he has any hope to be reelected, and didn’t he just put a labor union member on the commission? Trust me, the union crowd knows that Chet needs gaming revenues to pay for his bonding proposal, which keeps them fat and happy.
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