GAMBLING DEBATE: Lawmakers Raise Issues

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It passed committee, and now the bill that would legalize some forms of online gambling in Iowa is on its way to the Senate floor.

“Iowa is a state that has a lot of gaming activity and there’s a point at which we have to say no enough is enough,” said Senator Jack Hatch (D).

Senator Jack Hatch voted against the bill in the State Government Committee, but along the way, he's changed his mind and said he plans to vote for the bill in the Senate.

“Without this bill then you really do have unregulated poker, and you have unregulated gaming activities and there’s no protection for Iowans and no standards. This bill establishes a standard,” said Sen. Hatch.

Senators against the bill, like Sen. Pat Ward (R) said Hatch's argument isn't strong enough.

“I think the opportunities exist for people who want to gamble but we`d be one of the first in the nation is we did internet poker and I think that opens the door way too wide,” said Sen. Pat Ward.

A possible amendment could go beyond the internet and affect people in the casinos, because some Senators want to add an amendment to the bill that would ban smoking in casinos.

“We`ll try to put that on, I’m not sure if it has enough votes but I will be supporting the amendment and I`ll support the bill, with or without the amendment,” said Sen. Hatch.

“I think we've addressed that issue in the legislature, we've listened to the people that we represent and I think that`s pretty well covered,” said Sen. Ward.

Senators explained that introducing the amendment could have an effect on the entire bill.

“I think the gaming industry will say if that goes on the bill it dies, that they will not go forward with it,” said Sen. Hatch.

If the bill passes in the Senate, it must still be approved in the house. Republicans say how it fairs in the house, depends on which amendments make it through the Senate.