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Tama won’t seek new casino license approval

August 11, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Tama County voters gave approval for the City of Tama to seek a casino license in 2006. That referendum vote was good for seven years and expires at the end of 2014.

Following the application for a casino license to be located near U.S. Highway 30 just east of Tama, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission ultimately rejected the proposal in 2009.

On Monday night, Aug. 4, city council members briefly discussed asking county voters to again approve the ability to apply for a casino license for Tama, but expressed no interest in doing so.

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Tama Mayor Dan Zimmerman mentioned the recent decision announced by the Racing and Gaming Commission members to not issue any licenses for three years which may have dampened any thought of bringing the proposal back before voters.

It was also noted the city must pay for the costs of putting the measure on the ballot.

In 2009, at the time of consideration of the Tama application, the commission also denied licenses for Ft. Dodge and Ottumwa while issuing a license for the Grand Falls Casino at Larchwood in far northwest Iowa.

Iowa currently has 18 licensed casinos and one new under construction at Jefferson.

In addition, the Meskwaki Bingo Casino, west of Tama-Toledo and Native American casinos at Sloan and Ottawa operate under separate gaming compacts with the state.

Tama's initial move to acquire a license was influenced in part by the gift of the 40-acre Cherry Lake to the city. Casinos were required to float on water at the time. However, the legislation was changed to allow land-based casinos and the Tama plan was switched.



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