Cannibalization, or competition?

Stacks of chips are on hand at the roulette table at Riverside Casino on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.  (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Stacks of chips are on hand at the roulette table at Riverside Casino on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Oral arguments will be presented today to the Iowa Supreme Court concerning the previous denial of a casino license for Cedar Crossing. The earlier judgment by the Racing and Gaming Commission caused the disenfranchisement of many Linn County voters who had approved of this construction. And who was primarily their opposition? Apparently it was the outside county gambling license holders who pleaded that a nasty “flesh-eating cannibalism” theory would devour their profits.

In actuality, can’t this be simplified by using the word, “competition?” Does not Younkers complete with Dillards for customers, CVS Pharmacy with Walgreens, or Buick with the Ford dealership? That’s reality! In this business world, how it handles “competition” basically helps to determine success or failure.

So good luck to the Linn County’s previously disenfranchised voters as they try to again present their oral arguments for competitive business justice in front of the Iowa Supreme Court. The Court has jurisdiction for decision-making. And best wishes to Gene Lopecky, a former prosecutor, who showed perseverance and fortitude in his endeavors for arranging the oral arguments.

Another impetus, as long as the theme of this article involves casinos, I would like to ask the state legislature, “Why have you been so reticent in requiring Iowa state-run casinos to abide by a “no-smoking” stipulation (like a neighboring state that vehemently enforces this rule)?” Many studies have concluded that secondhand smoke is a major health hazard! A few years ago, an Iowa Smoke Free Air Act was authorized for small operatives but what happened to these large casinos? Why weren’t they required to abide by a similar law?

A healthy atmosphere should exist for workers in these casinos, both young and old, in addition to the visitors who like to eat, to socialize, to listen and to watch performers on the stage, and perhaps to chance the possibility of a lucky win.

According to a recent study by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization, “Smoking tobacco-related deaths is projected to increase from about 6 million deaths annually to about 8 million annually by 2030.” Does the state of Iowa really want to contribute to this statistic?

A few years ago Gov. Terry Branstad indicated at a town-hall meeting in Tipton that he would sign a “no-smoking” edict if it were put on his desk. As he becomes Ambassador to China, what a nice departure remembrance to take with him knowing the state of Iowa, which he loves, has finally stipulated no smoking permitted in our state-run casinos.


• Alta M. Cook is a retired language arts instructor in the Iowa City schools, a Golden Apple award winner and inductee into City High’s Hall of Fame.



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