The Iowa state Senate on Thursday revived an effort aimed at permanently ending greyhound racing in the state. This, however, led to the halting of a debate which was supposed to have taken place over a gambling bill which would have needed a study on the impact which legalization of internet poker will have.
According to the schedule, the Senate Ways and Means Committee was to have considered the Senate File 458 which is going to revise the current horse racing laws of the state and the ballot proposals of county casinos and will also establish a framework for the regulation of internet poker in the state. However, the bill was unexpectedly pulled off the agenda of the committee when it was realized that many lobbyists were effectively lining up votes for an amendment which will do away with the dog racing industry of the state.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Joe Bolkcom, accepted after the meeting ended that the opponents of dog racing were coming up with an amendment which will end Iowa’s greyhound racing. This will also be applicable for Council Bluffs and Dubuque dog tracks. The floor manager of the gambling bill, Senator William Dotzler, stated that he did not believe that the gambling measure was dead; however, he acknowledged that there is more concern about the dog racing amendment at the moment. He also said that some lawmakers are in favour of the dog racing industry as it is a part of the agricultural economy of the state. The appeal to stop racing has already once failed to win the approval of the committee.
It had been intended by Zotzler to propose an amendment to the gambling bill today which would have required that Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission conduct a study and make a report on the effects of internet poker so that the issue could be taken up again by lawmakers in 2012. A law which mandates all the counties which offer casino gambling to hold a referendum on the legal gambling after every eight years would also be revised by the amendment. Instead, the bill would have allowed the voters to ask for a referendum by petition.