Gambling & Casinos

Dean Borg/IPR

Casino operators and supporters from Eastern Iowa communities where the casinos are located don’t want Iowa’s Racing and Gaming Commission to license new competition in Cedar Rapids.

During a Tuesday public hearing on three requests to establish gambling in downtown Cedar Rapids, casino representatives from Waterloo, Bettendorf, Dubuque, Riverside, and Tama all said another casino would cannibalize business from their operations. They contend Iowa’s gaming market is saturated.

Problem gamblers would have a new option for keeping themselves out of Iowa casinos under legislation that passed the Iowa Senate last week.  

Currently, gamblers can voluntarily ban themselves from casinos for life.  

Under the bill, a problem gambler who earlier agreed to a lifetime ban could get back onto the gaming floor once five years have passed.    The gambler would then be subject to a renewable ban every five years.

Flickr / Ted Murphy

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission can consider the economic impact of a potential new casino on existing gambling operations, before approving the new casino’s application. That's according to the Iowa Supreme Court, which ruled that commission was acting within its authority.

WIKICOMMONS / Iowahwyman

The Polk County community stands to lose millions in taxes, revenue sharing, and charitable donations now that IRS wants to pull the tax exempt status of a Des Moines-area casino. 

Between Polk County’s lease and revenue sharing agreements with Prairie Meadows, the hotel, casino, and racetrack contributes roughly $26 million annually the county.

A Webster City Hot Lotto winner says he was shortchanged $10 million in his cash prize, and is now suing for that sum plus interest. The lawsuit stems from the rigging of the Hot Lotto game back in December 2010, when Multi-State Lottery Association information security employee Eddie Tipton fraudulently programmed the game to spit out a specific set of numbers and then purchased a ticket with those numbers.

Hot Lotto is a “progressive jackpot" game. If there's no winner, the money is put in the next pot with at least an additional $50,000. 

Ted Murphy

An Illinois grandmother will not be taking home almost $42 million from a Waterloo casino. Isle of Capri Casinos says Pauline McKee’s big win was due to an equipment malfunction.

The Iowa Supreme Court sided with the company.

On July 2, 2011 Pauline McKee of Antioch, Illinois was visiting northeast Iowa for a family reunion. Some of the family was staying at the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo and at about 9:00 pm the  87-year-old woman and her daughters went to the gaming floor.

Markus Ortner

In a four to one vote in Council Bluffs, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission rejected a $174-million proposal for a casino in downtown Cedar Rapids. Commissioner Dolores Mertz of Algona cast the lone “yes” vote.

Commission Chair Jeff Lamberti said approving the Cedar Rapids Development Group LLC request, “Would be a significant precedent,” that he wasn’t willing to take. 

A three-member panel at the statehouse signed off on a  bill to end greyhound racing at casinos in Council Bluffs and Dubuque.    The casinos and the communities where they’re located say dog racing is a dying sport.  But the greyhound industry is putting up a good fight.  

  

Geoffrey Fairchild

Today on River to River, we bring you six stories.

First, University of Iowa President Sally Mason meets with the Board of Regents for a special meeting this afternoon to discuss her remarks on how the university handles sexual assault allegations. Iowa Public Radio correspondent Dean Borg tells host Ben Kieffer what to expect out of the meeting.

Alex Lapuerta

Iowa is the only Midwestern state where commercial dog racing remains legal and active. But that may soon change, as state lawmakers look at proposals to end greyhound racing at the only tracks left in Iowa: The Mystique in Dubuque and Bluffs Run in Council Bluffs.

Today on River to River, we take a look at greyhound racing’s history in the state, its impact in communities with tracks, how these tracks are subsidized, and what the future of greyhound racing may hold.

Today's guests include:

Jimmy Emerson / jimmywayne / Flickr

Host Ben Kieffer gets the latest on news from around Iowa.  MidAmerican Energy gives an update on the power outage which left almost 40,000 Des Moines-area residents in the dark. IPR's Joyce Russell discusses changes to the problematic Toledo Juvenile Home.  The DNR has a new report which looks at drought conditions in Iowa.  Also, Dubuque native Brooks Wheelan joins the cast of "Saturday Night Live."

Flickr / J. Stephen Conn

In 2007 the state of Iowa allowed casinos to move from riverboats to land.  Since that time several communities around the state have sought a piece of the casino action.  But how many casinos are too many for Iowa?

"River to River" looks at current casino proposals in Warren and Linn Counties.  We'll also examine why communities like Davenport and Sioux City are in the process of moving their casinos from riverboats to land.

American Winter

Mar 29, 2013
http://www.americanwinterfilm.com/

Though the Great Recession ended in 2009, families that were once considered middle-class still struggle to get by.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with filmmaker and University of Iowa graduate Devon Terrill about her new documentary “An American Winter,” which profiles eight families who fell out of the middle class during the Great Recession.  IPR's Sandhya Dirks tells us about the push to get an Iowa inmate's sentence commuted.  And is your NCAA pool legal?  Geoff Greenwood from the Iowa Attorney General's Office outlines the regulations governing social gambling.

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There’s a lot of interest in expanding casino gambling in Iowa.        

Linn County’s referendum next Tuesday decides whether to allow a casino in Cedar Rapids.

There’s a similar initiative in Warren County for  Norwalk, at the southwest edge of Des Moines.

Neither have casinos now. But in the Quad-Cities - where there are three casinos along the Mississippi River - the City of Davenport is moving to purchase and operate one of them.

Gambling In Iowa

Jan 4, 2013
Limconcon / Flickr

Forget about riverboats, online gaming is the new frontier when it comes to gambling in Iowa. Ben Kieffer discusses the future of gambling in Iowa and how the evolving regulation of online gaming may help or hinder the state’s gaming industry.

Then a University of Iowa researcher shares his new study that suggests more casinos do not necessarily equate more gamblers.