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Iowa findings will be information only; Mass. town wants Mohegan Sun to foot study bill

TAGs: Iowa racing and gaming commission, Massachusetts, Mohegan Sun

Iowa Racing and Gaming CommissionIowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s long-awaited report into Internet poker will have no advice on the future of the state’s gambling industry regulations. Division administrator, Jack Ketterer, issued the news and stated the report will only give information and has nothing looking forwards. His excuse? The legislature asked them to gather information to which Ketterer merely went and Googled Internet poker. Although Ketterer did add that the information they gather will be given to the legislature so “they can make an informed decision on what’s the best public policy for Iowa.”

It’s a hard position that Ketterer and his team find themselves in. The lack of data that is actually available on American intrastate online poker (i.e. nothing) mean researchers don’t have a lot to go on. It means Ketterer is sticking to the Commission’s stated position that no recommendation will be made. His crack team is unlikely to make any projections about player numbers or the money that might be made, stating numbers would be “pretty speculative.”

The state will miss the first mover advantage with Nevada looking at February as a date to issue licenses. If the information they get to the legislature before the December 1 deadline is persuasive enough, is it too much to think Iowa could be next? Maybe.

Massachusetts is a state that is closer than Iowa to the online poker finish-line and it all came as part of a land-based bill last month. Ahead of the gambling industry bill being approved, the town of Palmer wants Mohegan Sun to pay for a casino study. The town has hired a University of Mass. Dartmouth think-tank to conduct the report looking at the economic, fiscal, social and community impact of the development.

Palmer officials including Acting Town Manager Charles Blanchard and Town Council President Paul Burns said, in a press release: “We anticipate the study to begin shortly and look forward to working with Mr. Barrow, the Center for Policy Analysis, and Mohegan Sun to ensure Palmer and the entire Western and Central Mass. Region are well positioned to maximize the economic benefits of this project.”

The study is being conducted after the Senate unanimously approved a casino bill that creates three casinos and a slots parlor – in addition to online poker being tacked on.

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