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Iowa Press #2946
July 12 and 14, 2002

Borg: GAMBLING IN IOWA GOES ON THE NOVEMBER 5 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT AS GAMING OPERATIONS SEEK REAUTHORIZATION FROM LOCAL VOTERS. WE'LL DISCUSS HIGH STAKES FOR THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY AND THE STATE WITH WES EHRECKE OF THE "IOWA GAMING ASSOCIATION" AND TOM COATES OF THE "TRUTH ABOUT GAMBLING FOUNDATION" ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS" OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY IOWA NETWORK SERVICES AND YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT TELEPHONE COMPANY... IOWA NETWORK SERVICES, YOUR CLOSEST CONNECTION.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, JULY 12 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: WHILE SEGMENTS OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMY HAVE FLAT-LINED IN RECENT YEARS, GAMBLING IN IOWA BOOMED. BY MOST MEASUREMENTS, GAMBLING NUMBERS ARE UP SIGNIFICANTLY. GAMING REVENUES ARE UP 8.2 PERCENT TO $960 MILLION IN THE LAST FISCAL YEAR. ADMISSIONS TO GAMING OPERATIONS -- RIVERBOATS, CASINOS, AND PARI-MUTUEL RACETRACKS -- ARE UP TO TWENTY MILLION ANNUALLY. AND WHILE A RECENT IOWA SUPREME COURT RULING WILL MODIFY THE TAX RATES PAID BY GAMBLING OPERATIONS, RECORD TAX REVENUE IS STREAMING INTO STATE AND LOCAL TREASURIES. AGAINST THAT BACKDROP, IOWANS GO BACK TO THE POLLS ON NOVEMBER 5 TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO REAUTHORIZE GAMING LICENSES ALREADY IN PLACE IN TEN IOWA COUNTIES. THAT INVOLVES TEN CASINO OPERATIONS AND THREE PARI-MUTUEL RACETRACKS. IT'S A RECERTIFICATION IN THE VOTING BOOTH THAT TAKES PLACE BY LAW EVERY EIGHT YEARS. OF COURSE, THAT REGENERATES THE QUESTIONS ABOUT GAMBLING ITSELF: SUPPORTERS SAYING GAMING IS NOW PART OF THE SOCIAL LANDSCAPE AND IT'S PROFITABLE; OPPONENTS CONTENDING GAMING CREATES A FALSE CIRCULAR ECONOMY WITH HIDDEN COSTS IN THE WEAR AND TEAR ON THE FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY. WELL, OUR GUESTS TODAY REPRESENT THOSE POLAR VIEWS. WES EHRECKE IS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE IOWA GAMING ASSOCIATION -- I SHOULD SAY HE'S THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. AND TOM COATES IS A VICE PRESIDENT OF THE TRUTH ABOUT GAMBLING FOUNDATION. GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO "IOWA PRESS."

Ehrecke: THANK YOU.

Coates: THANK YOU.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "ASSOCIATED PRESS" POLITICAL REPORTER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: MR. EHRECKE, AS DEAN MENTIONED, THE STATE SUPREME COURT HAS REOPENED THE GAMBLING DEBATE. IT'S STRICKEN THE STATE'S TAXING SCHEME, WHICH TAXED LAND-BASED CASINOS HIGHER THAN FLOATING CASINOS, ORDERING BOTH TAXED AT THE LOWER RATE. IT'S GOING TO COST THE STATE A TON OF MONEY. WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?

Ehrecke: I THINK IT'S A BAD IDEA TO RAISE TAXES. IT SENDS THE WRONG SIGNAL AT A TIME WHEN WE'RE TRYING TO HAVE IOWA THRIVE INSTEAD OF JUST SURVIVE. WE WANT TO BE COMPETITIVE WITH OTHER STATES. AND CERTAINLY THE GAMING PROPERTIES, PAYING 20 PERCENT IS A FAIR AMOUNT OF TAX FOR A MAINSTREAM BIOBUSINESS, MORE THAN OTHER BUSINESSES. AND WE FEEL THAT THE BENEFITS, WITH THE AMOUNT THAT GOES TO THE STATE, IS CERTAINLY EXTRAORDINARY. BUT ALSO, THE MONEY THAT CAN REMAIN IN THE COMMUNITIES FOR CAPITAL UPGRADES AND CAPITAL INVESTMENT ALONG WITH THE CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS MAKES FOR A GOOD BALANCE.

Glover: A LOT OF IMPORTANT REPUBLICANS LIKE JEFF LAMBERTI, CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN FROM ANKENY, SAY THAT THE SOLUTION IS TO FIND A REVENUE NEUTRAL, NOT INCREASING TAXES, KEEPING TAX COLLECTIONS AT THE RATE THEY ARE NOW, SOMETHING HIGHER THAN 20 PERCENT. YOU RULED THAT OUT.

Ehrecke: THE FIRST OBJECTIVE WE HAVE IS TO GET THE REFERENDUMS PASSED THIS NOVEMBER. THEN WHEN WE COME TO THE LEGISLATURE TO SIT DOWN WITH THE LEGISLATORS, THE LEADERS, THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE TO SORT OUT AND ALSO TO REALLY HEIGHTEN AWARENESS THAT THE GAMING INDUSTRY IS A VIABLE PART OF IOWA'S ECONOMY, ADDING VALUE TO THE STATE'S ENTERTAINMENT TOURISM INDUSTRY, A GOOD CHANCE TO TALK ABOUT HOW WE ARE PAYING A FAIR AMOUNT OF TAXES AT 20 PERCENT, AND WHAT WE ARE DOING FOR THE ECONOMY AND FOR THE COMMUNITIES. SO THAT DIALOGUE WILL PROBABLY BE BEST TO TAKE PLACE AT THAT TIME.

Glover: MR. COATES, DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE A POSITION ON WHAT THE TAX RATE OUGHT TO BE?

Coates: OUR POSITION -- AND WE THINK IT'S AN EQUITABLE ONE -- IS TO RAISE IT, NOT JUST TO REVENUE NEUTRAL BUT, IN A TIME WHEN THE STATE IS HURTING, TO ACTUALLY INCREASE IT. WE'RE LOOKING AT 32 PERCENT ON OUR RECOMMENDATION, ON BOTH THE LAND BASED AND THE RIVERBOATS. IT GOES TO THE CORE ISSUE. AND OBVIOUSLY THE CASINOS DON'T WANT THAT, BUT IT GOES TO THE CORE ISSUE. AND OUR POSITION IS THAT THERE IS A TREMENDOUS IMPACT, NOT POSITIVE BUT A NEGATIVE, FROM THE EXISTENCE OF CASINOS WITHIN OUR STATE'S BORDERS.

Glover: IS THAT REALISTIC?

Coates: IS 32 PERCENT REALISTIC? REALISTIC INSOFAR AS THE TREMENDOUS INFLUENCE THAT THE CASINOS HAVE WITH THE LEGISLATORS AND THE REGULATORS IN THIS STATE. I'D SAY IT'S UNLIKELY BUT I THINK IT WOULD BE THE FAIREST THING FOR THE IOWA PEOPLE.

Yepsen: BUT THE FACT IS, MR. COATES, YOU'RE TRYING TO CHOKE OFF GAMBLING. I MEAN THE POWER TO TAX IS THE POWER TO DESTROY, AND IF YOU HAVE A 32-PERCENT TAX, YOU'RE REALLY GOING TO CHOKE OFF GAMBLING IN THIS STATE. THAT'S REALLY WHAT YOU'RE AFTER, ISN'T IT?

Coates: WELL, IF I COULD HAVE MY DRUTHERS, ABSOLUTELY.

Yepsen: OKAY. AND THEREFORE, THAT'S WHY THAT'S NOT LIKELY TO EVER BE 32 PERCENT.

Coates: DON'T SO EVER.

Yepsen: IS ONE OPTION IN THIS STATE, MR. EHRECKE, TO EXPAND GAMBLING, IN OTHER WORDS, MAYBE KEEP A TAX RATE LOWER BUT TO CREATE MORE FORMS OF GAMBLING IN IOWA?

Ehrecke: CERTAINLY A LOT OF OPTIONS WILL PROBABLY BE ON THE TABLE WHEN THE LEGISLATURE COMES BACK IN, AND THE DIALOGUE WOULD FOCUS ON THAT. CERTAINLY OUR INDUSTRY, OUR ASSOCIATION HASN'T TAKEN A LOOK AT THAT THIS TIME. OUR FOCUS IS GETTING THE REFERENDUMS PASSED. THE COMMUNITY LEADERS, THE CIVIC AND BUSINESS LEADERS ARE ENERGIZED TO WANT TO GO OUT. THEY SEE THE CATALYST THAT THE CASINO HAS BEEN FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. SO THOSE OPTIONS I THINK WOULD HAVE TO BE DETERMINED WHEN THE LEGISLATURE COMES BACK.

Yepsen: WHY DON'T POLITICIANS WANT TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM BEFORE THE ELECTION? SHOULDN'T VOTERS BE ENTITLED TO KNOW WHAT IT IS THAT YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO COOK UP IN THE LEGISLATURE NEXT YEAR BEFORE THEY VOTE?

Ehrecke: WE'RE NOT TRYING TO COOK UP ANYTHING AT THIS POINT IN TIME.

Yepsen: WELL, IOWA CLEARLY HAS A PROBLEM BECAUSE OF THIS COURT RULING. NOW, WHY IS IT WE DON'T GET THE SOLUTION BEFORE THE ELECTION? WHY IS IT WE'RE GOING TO GET THE SOLUTION AFTER THE ELECTION?

Ehrecke: WELL, LET'S DETERMINE WHAT THE ECONOMY WILL BE LIKE. HOPEFULLY WE'LL BE IN A RECOVERY. WE'RE NOT GOING TO REMAIN STAGNANT FOREVER. IN SIX MONTHS WE'LL BE ABLE TO SEE WHAT THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE DETERMINES IN DECEMBER, WHAT THE NUMBERS ARE. AND I THINK THAT WILL BE A GOOD, CLEAR INDICATOR OF WHAT KIND OF BUDGETS WE'LL NEED AND WHERE WE'RE AT. AND AT THAT POINT IN TIME, LET'S SIT DOWN WITH CLEAR MINDS, CLEAR HEADS, WITH EVERYBODY AT THE TABLE, AND TALK THROUGH A FAIR AND BALANCED SOLUTION.

Yepsen: DOESN'T THE FACT THAT THIS SOLUTION IS HANGING FIRE MEAN THAT A LOT OF POLITICIANS ARE SHAKING YOU GUYS DOWN FOR CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS RIGHT NOW? THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD FETCHER BILL FOR THEM, ISN'T IT? I MEAN THEY PUT A BEGUN TO YOUR HEAD AND SAY, "GIVE US MONEY TO VOTE YOUR WAY IN THE LEGISLATURE," RIGHT?

Ehrecke: THAT'S A PRETTY OUTRAGEOUS STATEMENT, DAVE.

Yepsen: OUTRAGEOUS! IT'S A QUESTION.

Coates: IT'S TRUE.

Ehrecke: IT'S NOT TRUE, TOM, BECAUSE THE IOWA GAMING ASSOCIATION DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A PAC, SO THEY AREN'T CALLING US FOR THAT KIND OF A FUND.

Yepsen: YOU'RE TELLING ME THAT THE GAMBLING INTERESTS OF IOWA MAKE NO POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS?

Ehrecke: I'M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU THAT. CERTAINLY THEY DO MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS, ALONG WITH ALL OTHER BUSINESSES AND INDUSTRY AND OTHERS OUT -- CERTAINLY YOU WANT TO SUPPORT CANDIDATES THAT ARE FAVORABLE TO YOUR OPINION, AT LEAST WILLING TO LISTEN TO BOTH SIDES OBJECTIVELY. THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT.

Glover: MR. COATES, ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THAT, THAT THIS WHOLE DEBATE OVER TAXING GAMBLING IS GOING TO COME BACK TO BE A DEBATE OVER EXPANDING GAMBLING?

Coates: THEY HAVE CONTINUED TO EXPAND GAMBLING IN THIS STATE, ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE NOT SAID SO FOR QUITE A WHILE. THERE ARE VARIOUS AREAS OF EXPANSION THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN RECENT YEARS, SO I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE AT LEAST A TRUE MORATORIUM TO ASSESS THIS THING, BUT WE REALLY HAVEN'T. AND THE EXPANSION LAST YEAR OF THE REVENUES, COUPLED WITH VIRTUALLY A NEUTRAL ON THE FOOT TRAFFIC, RAISES THE ISSUE, WHERE'S THAT MONEY COMING FROM. I GOT A CALL YESTERDAY FROM A REPORTER IN OMAHA SAYING, "ARE ARE RETAIL SALES DOWN? WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM? WHY ARE YOU SEEING AN 8-PERCENT INCREASE IN THE GAMBLING REVENUE"? AND I THINK THAT THIS GOES TO WHERE IT IS COMING FROM. PRAIRIE MEADOWS, FOR INSTANCE, 80, 90 PERCENT OF THEIR TRAFFIC COMES FROM POLK OR THE CONTIGUOUS COUNTIES. SO IT IS NOT COMING FROM THE TOURIST DOLLAR, IT'S COMING FROM US. AND THOSE DOLLARS, BECAUSE THE FOOT TRAFFIC ISN'T UP, ASKS THE QUESTION: ARE THEY LOSING MORE? YES, $3 A HEAD LOST ADDITIONAL LAST YEAR THAN THE YEAR BEFORE. AND WHY IS THAT? AND THE ANSWER IS THAT THEY HAVE MADE IT INCREASINGLY ACCESSIBLE TO GO AHEAD AND BORROW AGAINST YOUR CREDIT CARDS. HALF OF THE DOLLARS LOST IN THE CASINOS, BY THE INDUSTRY'S OWN INDICATIONS, ARE THAT IT'S ELECTRONICALLY TRANSFERRED FROM EITHER BANK ACCOUNTS OR CREDIT CARDS. THEN YOU COUPLE THAT WITH A RATHER SURREPTITIOUS SHIFTING FROM MECHANICAL SLOTS TO VIDEO SLOTS OUT AT PRAIRIE MEADOWS, WHICH IS FASTER ACTION, MORE HIGHLY ADDICTIVE, AND I THINK YOU'VE GOT THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION.

Borg: MR. EHRECKE, YOU WERE SHAKING YOUR HEAD ON CREDIT CARDS.

Ehrecke: WHAT I WAS SHAKING MY HEAD ABOUT WAS THAT THE AVERAGE BEING SPENT. WHAT HE WAS ALLUDING TO IS $48 PER PERSON. TWENTY MILLION PEOPLE -- WE ARE IOWA'S LARGEST TOURIST ATTRACTION. $48 PER PERSON BEING SPENT, THAT IS VERY COMPARABLE TO OTHER ENTERTAINMENT VENUES. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE IS A HIGHLY REGULATED, SAFE, FUN, AFFORDABLE ENTERTAINMENT OPTION. AND SPENDING $48 TO GO TO A SPORTING EVENT, A BROADWAY SHOW, RESTAURANTS -- I'M GOING TO A CONCERT THIS WEEKEND THAT THE TICKET ALONE IS $95. SO THE POINT IS THAT WE HAVE THE LOWEST PROBLEM GAMBLING RATE IN THE COUNTRY. THAT IS DOCUMENTED AND WE CAN TALK ABOUT THAT. BUT THE FACT IS THAT PEOPLE WANT EXCEPTIONAL FACILITIES. THEY WANT GOOD ENTERTAINMENT VENUES. AND IT'S BEEN PROVEN IN MOST OF THESE COMMUNITIES HOW THEY HAVE BEEN A CATALYST FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

Borg: QUICK RESPONSE, MR. COATES.

Coates: THE AVERAGE LOSS PER PATRON DOES NOT TELL THE STORY, BECAUSE THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS CAME OUT WITH A STUDY LAST YEAR SAYING THAT 52 PERCENT OF A CASINO'S REVENUE THAT IS DERIVED FROM THEIR NATIVE POPULATION, AS WE ARE, IS BEING DRAWN FROM THE PROVIDENT PATHOLOGICAL GAMBLERS WHICH, IN THE STATE OF IOWA, ACCORDING TO THE 1995 STUDY, SAID IT WAS 5.4 PERCENT. SO THE AVERAGE LOSS IS NOT CATCHING THIS. IT'S THE CORE OF THIS, THE PROBLEM IN PATHOLOGICAL GAMBLERS AND HOW MUCH THEY LOSE. IT'S FAR HIGHER THAN $48.

Glover: MR. EHRECKE, WHAT ELSE IS GOING TO BE ON THE TABLE? WE'VE TALKED ABOUT TAXES. WE'VE TALKED ABOUT WHETHER GAMBLING IS GOING TO GET EXPANDED OR NOT. IS THIS GOING TO BE A FULL-BLOWN GAMBLING DEBATE WHEN THE LEGISLATURE CONVENES, AND WHAT ELSE IS GOING TO BE ON THE TABLE?

Ehrecke: THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS IN THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE WOULD HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT TO BRING FORWARD AS THE ISSUES. CERTAINLY WE HAVEN'T BEEN A PART OF THAT DIALOGUE AT THIS TIME, SO WE'LL WAIT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE LEGISLATURE BEGINS.

Glover: MR. COATES, WHAT DO YOU SUSPICION IS GOING TO BE ON THE TABLE WHEN THE LEGISLATURE COMES BACK?

Coates: THERE IS GOING TO BE A LOT OF FIGHTING BECAUSE THE STATE IS NOW STRANGLED FOR REVENUE, AS YOU ALREADY ALLUDED TO. THE OBVIOUS CASH COW WOULD BE THE CASINOS. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY ALREADY HAVE SUCH TREMENDOUS INFLUENCE WITH SO MANY OF LEGISLATORS, IT'S GOING TO BE A REAL DOG FIGHT TO GET THROUGH THIS THING.

Yepsen: MR. COATES, LET'S BACK UP ONE SECOND. HOW MANY PROBLEM GAMBLERS ARE THERE IN IOWA? THEY TALK ABOUT LOSS PER PATRON AND ALL THAT. THERE AREN'T VERY MANY OF THEM, ARE THERE?

Coates: WELL, THE ISSUE --

Yepsen: A DOZEN PERCENT?

Coates: MR. EHRECKE, THE LAST TIME WE WERE ON THIS SHOW, THREW OUT ONE PERCENT FREQUENTLY, AND I THINK HE WAS QUOTING A HARVARD STUDY. THE HARVARD STUDY DONE BY SHAEFFER, WHICH ACTUALLY WAS FUNDED BY THE CASINOS IN '94 AND THEN DONE AGAIN IN '97, WAS INTERESTING. IN '94 IT SHOWED .84 PERCENT.

Yepsen: WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS NOW.

Coates: THEN IT ADVANCED IN THREE YEARS TO 1.9 PERCENT. THE NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION THAT CAME OUT A FEW YEARS AGO SAID 1.5 PERCENT, BUT THAT MISSES SOME OF THE POINT BECAUSE THAT'S HARD-CORE PATHOLOGICAL. THE IOWA STUDY TOOK IN NOT ONLY HARD-CORE PATHOLOGICAL, WHICH IS ABOUT 1.5, BUT ALSO INCLUDE PROBLEM GAMBLERS. AND THAT NUMBER, THEY SAID IN 1995, WAS 5.4 PERCENT OF OUR STATE'S POPULATION.

Yepsen: FIVE PERCENT, THAT'S NOT VERY MANY, MR. COATES.

Coates: IT'S NOT? WELL, IF THAT 5.4 PERCENT IS NOT A PROBLEM, ASK THEM HOW MANY DOLLARS -- AGAIN, THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SAID OVER HALF THEIR DOLLARS COME FROM THAT SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION.

Yepsen: MR. EHRECKE, IS THE GAMING INDUSTRY WORRIED AT ALL IN THIS STATE ABOUT HAVING TO PAY BACK SOME MONEY, I MEAN THAT THE STATE WILL DIRECT -- WILL LOSE REVENUE IN THIS PROCESS BY HAVING TO PAY REFUNDS OF SOME KIND?

Ehrecke: WE'LL HAVE TO SEE WHAT THE COURTS ULTIMATELY DETERMINE --

Yepsen: DO YOU HAVE A POSITION ON THAT?

Ehrecke: WE DON'T AT THIS POINT IN TIME. WE'RE WAITING TO SEE WHAT THE COURTS ULTIMATELY DETERMINE, HEAR WHAT THE RECOMMENDATIONS WILL BE, AND AT THAT POINT IN TIME -- CAN I COME BACK AND ADDRESS ONE THING WITH THIS COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR? THERE'S TWO PLACES WHERE PEOPLE AND THE VIEWERS CAN GO TO. YOU MENTIONED THE NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION REPORT. THAT IS THE MOST AUTHORITATIVE, UNBIASED, OBJECTIVE REPORT OUT THERE. THEY USED THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, THE NATIONAL OPINION RESEARCH COUNCIL, AND THE HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL. WE DIDN'T PAY FOR THAT. THEY USE THAT. THIS WAS COMMISSIONED BY CONGRESS. IT IS THE MOST AUTHORITATIVE TWO-YEAR STUDY. THEY ALL CAME TO THAT SAME CONCLUSION ABOUT 1 TO 1.5 PERCENT. IN ADDITION TO THAT, 1-800-BETS-OFF DOES AN ANNUAL TELEPHONE SURVEY, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH THROUGH THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL, THE BEHAVIORAL OR RISK FACTOR SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM, RIGHT ON THAT -- YOU CAN CLICK IT UP YOURSELF AND SEE THAT IT'S ONE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE HAVE THAT COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR, WHICH MEANS THAT THE PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE THEIR DISCRETIONARY DOLLARS EARMARKED FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND PEOPLE -- THE VAST MAJORITY DO IT RESPONSIBLY AND CAN DO IT FOR THE FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT IT CAN BE.

Yepsen: LET ME FLIP THE QUESTION AROUND.

Ehrecke: SURE.

Yepsen: 1.5 PERCENT, 5 PERCENT, THAT'S STILL -- THAT'S NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE BUT STILL THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

Ehrecke: WHAT IT MEANS IS THAT ANY KIND OF COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR, WHETHER IT'S COMPULSIVE EATING, COMPULSIVE SHOPPING, COMPULSIVE USE OF CREDIT CARDS, EVEN COMPULSIVE GAMBLING NEEDS TO HAVE ASSISTANCE. IT'S A VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE. AND WHAT WE HAVE IS A PREMIERE PROGRAM TO TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE WITHIN THIS LOWEST PROBLEM GAMBLING RATE IN THE COUNTRY: THE 800-BETS-OFF HELP LINE, THE TREATMENT PROVIDERS THAT ARE DOING AN EXCELLENT JOB. PEOPLE NEED HELP WHEN THEY HAVE A COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR. I LIVED WITH IT FIRSTHAND IN MY FAMILY. I'VE SEEN WHAT IT IS BUT I'VE SEEN WHAT IT MEANS WHEN PEOPLE GET THE HELP. AND THAT'S WHAT'S EXCITING TO SEE, THAT WE CAN HAVE A PREMIERE TREATMENT PREVENTION AND AWARENESS OUTREACH PROGRAM FOR THAT VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE A COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR THAT ARE VULNERABLE TO THAT.

Borg: MR. COATES, IN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS, THERE'S AN OVERALL ASSESSMENT AND THEY LOOK AT THE RACES THAT ARE MOST VULNERABLE, IN THIS CASE COUNTIES THAT ARE MOST VULNERABLE. WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE THE BEST CHANCE OF DEFEATING THIS REFERENDUM?

Coates: THE EXPERTS THAT ARE LOOKING AT THAT SAY THAT RIGHT HERE IN POLK COUNTY IS THE MOST LIKELY, BECAUSE THE RIVER COMMUNITIES, THEY VIEW PEOPLE THAT LIVE ACROSS THE RIVER AS FOREIGN NATIONALS. AND IF YOU PLUG THEIR POCKETS, THEY'RE FAIR GAME. THE ONLY PLACE I THINK WE'VE GOT THE MOST REALISTIC CHANCE IS RIGHT HERE IN POLK COUNTY, WHERE WE ARE CLEARLY FEEDING OFF OUR IMMEDIATE NATIVE POPULATION.

Borg: WHERE DO YOU THINK, MR. EHRECKE?

Ehrecke: I THINK THAT ALL WILL PASS. I THINK THE BUSINESS AND CIVIC LEADERS WITHIN ALL THE COMMUNITIES HAVE SEEN THE POSITIVE BENEFITS OF GAMING. THEIR EXPECTATIONS HAVE BEEN EXCEEDED EXTRAORDINARILY.

Borg: WILL YOU PUT EQUAL RESOURCES INTO EVERY COMMUNITY, OR WHERE WILL YOU SPEND MORE?

Ehrecke: EACH OF THE COMMUNITIES WILL DETERMINE THAT. THE IOWA GAMING ASSOCIATION WON'T BE DOING ANYTHING. EACH OF THE COMMUNITY LEADERS ARE SETTING FORTH THE NECESSARY FUND-RAISING AND THE NECESSARY STRATEGIES. THEY SEE THAT THE CASINOS HAVE BEEN A CATALYST FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THEY SEE THAT THEY'RE POURING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS ANNUALLY, $60 MILLION COLLECTIVELY EVERY YEAR. THEY SEE THE RESPONSIBLE GAMING INITIATIVES. THEY SEE THE BUY-IOWA-FIRST PROGRAM. AND ALSO, ESPECIALLY THE STRONG AND STABLE EMPLOYMENT BRING GOOD WAGES AND GOOD BENEFITS.

Borg: SO YOU'RE SAYING NO CONTEST?

Ehrecke: NO CONTEST.

Glover: MR. COATES, YOU SAY THAT POLK COUNTY IS THE MOST REALISTIC TARGET FOR YOUR FOLKS. DO YOU THINK IT'S REALISTIC TO DEFEAT IT IN POLK COUNTY, GIVEN THE POWERS THAT ARE ALIGNED BEHIND IT?

Coates: YOU KNOW, WE'RE HOPING TO. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE MONEY THAT THEY GIVE BACK THROUGH CHARITIES, THE THINGS THAT THEY DO, THE $7 MILLION THEY SPENT LAST YEAR -- PRAIRIE MEADOWS DID IN ADVERTISING -- IS VERY VISIBLE. WE'RE HOPING THAT PEOPLE START TO SEE THE REAL IMPACT. YOU KNOW, YOU LOOK AT THE 8-PERCENT INCREASE IN REVENUES FOR THE CASINOS LAST YEAR; IT'S SIGNIFICANT. YOU LOOK AT THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA, WE HAD THE FASTEST GROWING RATE OF PERSONAL BANKRUPTCIES OF ANY DISTRICT IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. I THINK THAT CORRELATION HOLDS UP.

Glover: THAT'S THE MERITS OF THE ARGUMENT.

Coates: ARE PEOPLE PERCEIVING THE MERITS IS YOUR QUESTION.

Glover: IS IT REALISTIC TO THINK YOU CAN DEFEAT THIS IN POLK COUNTY GIVEN THE POWERS ALIGNED AGAINST YOU?

Coates: IN A WORLDLY VIEW, NO. I DON'T THINK THAT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE DOLLARS, AT THE IMMENSE POWER OR DISPARITY, NO, I DON'T THINK IT'S REALISTIC, BUT I'M STILL HOPEFUL.

Glover: WHAT HAPPENS IF ONE OF THESE REFERENDUMS GETS BEAT? WALK ME THROUGH THE PROCESS. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FACILITY? WHO OWNS THE FACILITY? WHAT HAPPENS IF A REFERENDUM LOSES?

Coates: WELL, I THINK THAT THERE'S SOME MURKINESS. I'VE HEARD SOME PEOPLE THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE NO TALK ABOUT THAT: HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE TO REALLY SHUT THE SLOT MACHINES DOWN OUT THERE AT PRAIRIE MEADOWS? AND THIS IS A QUESTION, I DON'T KNOW OF ANYBODY THAT HAS DEFINITIVELY ANSWERED BECAUSE THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT THINK IT MAY TAKE UP TO EIGHT YEARS TO ACTUALLY SHUT THEM DOWN.

Glover: MR. EHRECKE, HAVE YOU LOOKED INTO THAT AT ALL, OR ARE YOU JUST SO CONFIDENT IT'S GOING TO PASS THAT YOU HAVEN'T LOOKED INTO IT?

Ehrecke: I THINK THAT, YEAH, THE CONCERN YOU HAVE IS THE THOUSANDS OF JOBS AND THE PAYROLL AND THE VENDORS AND THE VARIOUS PEOPLE THAT -- THE TAXES THAT WOULD BE LOST, I THINK IT'S JUST -- IT WOULD BE A MIND-BOGGLING CONCERN, PLUS LOSING A VIABLE ENTERTAINMENT VENUE FOR OUR STATE. SO WE'RE FOCUSED ON THAT.

Yepsen: MR. COATES, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A VOTER IN POLK COUNTY WHO KNOWS THAT IF THEY TURN DOWN GAMBLING IN THIS TOWN, THEIR PROPERTY TAXES ARE GOING TO GO UP TO PAY FORT EVENT CENTER?

Coates: IT'S A GOOD QUESTION. WE HEARD THAT WHEN PRAIRIE MEADOWS FIRST WANTED TO TAKE ON THE SLOTS TO PAY OFF THE $20 MILLION IN BONDING THAT WAS DONE.

Yepsen: WELL, THE MATH IS PRETTY CLEAR THAT THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, THAT EITHER IT'S PAID FOR OUT OF GAMBLING REVENUES OR IT'S GOING TO BE PAID FOR BY PROPERTY TAXES.

Coates: AND WITHOUT LOOKING INTO WHY IT CAME ABOUT IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU ASK THAT QUESTION. WE LOOKED AT A SALES TAX STUDY, DONE IN '97 COMPARED TO '98, THAT INDICATED THAT COMMUNITIES THAT HOUSE CASINOS ACTUALLY HAD THEIR SALES TAX DECREASE BY 2.5 PERCENT DURING THAT PERIOD, WHERE COMMUNITIES OF COMPARABLE SIZE ACTUALLY INCREASED BY 13.5 PERCENT. SO WE THINK THAT THE ACTUAL LEVEL OF TRUE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY WOULD BE INCREASED, NOT DECREASED, IF PRAIRIE MEADOWS GOES AWAY.

Yepsen:I WANT TO GO TO A TACTICAL QUESTION ABOUT THIS VOTE IN POLK COUNTY, MR. COATES. WILL THE OPPONENTS OF THIS MEASURE IN POLK COUNTY TAKE MONEY FROM THE TAMA CASINO AND ITS INTERESTS AND THE OSCEOLA BOAT AND ITS INTERESTS? I MEAN THOSE TWO INTERESTS WOULD DEARLY LOVE TO KILL OFF GAMBLING IN POLK COUNTY BECAUSE IT WOULD IMPROVE THEIR BUSINESSES, OBVIOUSLY.

Coates: OF COURSE.

Yepsen: SO ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE CAMPAIGN MONEY FROM THOSE FOLKS?

Coates: NO. THAT HAS BEEN DISCUSSED AT SOME OF OUR MEETINGS. AND WE KNEW EARLY A YEAR AGO GOING IN THAT THAT WAS PROBABLY THE ONLY LOGICAL SOURCE OF SIGNIFICANT DOLLARS WE COULD GET. WE HAVE $2,000 IN THE BANK RIGHT NOW. IT WAS DECIDED ON, ON A CLEAR VOTE, THAT WE CANNOT IN GOOD CONSCIENCE TAKE THAT KIND OF TAINTED MONEY.

Glover: MR. EHRECKE, WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING ON THESE CAMPAIGNS?

Ehrecke: WELL, THE CAMPAIGNS THEMSELVES WILL BE RUN BY THE COMMUNITY LEADERS, BUSINESS AND CIVIC LEADERS THAT ARE ENERGIZED, THAT WANT TO SEE THAT THESE VIABLE ENTERTAINMENT OPTIONS REMAIN IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. THE IOWA GAMING ASSOCIATION, WE ARE PROVIDING THE FACTUAL BACKGROUND, THE TRUTH AND ACCURACY. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE BANKRUPTCIES, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU PULL UP THE AMERICAN BANKRUPTCY INSTITUTE, WHICH IS A NONPARTISAN OBJECTIVE, AUTHORITATIVE PLACE TO FIND ALL THE BANKRUPTCY NUMBERS IN THE -- NOT ONLY IN THIS STATE BUT IN THE COUNTRY. AND WHEN YOU PULL IT UP, THEY DETERMINE THAT FEDERAL RESERVE IS SAYING THAT IT'S BECAUSE OF HOUSEHOLD DEBITS, BECAUSE OF CREDIT CARD ABUSE. WE ALL GET BOMBARDED WITH THAT. BUT IT WILL ALSO SHOW THERE THAT IOWA JUST DROPPED FROM 35TH TO 41ST IN THE COUNTRY IN THE NUMBER OF BANKRUPTCIES PER HOUSEHOLD. AND IT SHOWS THAT THE FOUR LEADING STATES IN THE COUNTRY FOR BANKRUPTCIES ARE UTAH, TENNESSEE, GEORGIA, AND ALABAMA. THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE CASINOS. SO THAT'S THE KIND OF FACTS AND TRUTH AND ACCURACY THAT WE'RE TRYING TO PROVIDE. AND PLUS, JUST BEING A CLEARINGHOUSE FOR INFORMATION AS THE CAMPAIGNS UNFOLD.

Glover: MR. COATES --

Ehrecke: COULD I SAY SOMETHING REAL QUICK TO THAT --

Glover: YEAH.

Ehrecke: -- BECAUSE THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA -- IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY CAME OUT WITH A STUDY IN '98 THAT SHOWED THAT 19 PERCENT OF OUR STATE'S BANKRUPTCIES WERE FILED AND DISCHARGED PRIMARILY GAMBLING DEBT. YES, IT'S CREDIT CARD ABUSE BUT THE CREDIT CARDS ARE BEING MOSTLY ABUSED ON THE GROUNDS OF THE CASINOS.

Ehrecke: AND THAT WAS DISCOUNTED BY THE U.S. TREASURY STUDY AS DETERMINED AS BEING STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT. [ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Glover: WE'RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO SOLVE THIS ISSUE RIGHT HERE TODAY. LET'S MOVE ON. MR. COATES, AS YOU MENTIONED, YOUR ORGANIZATION IS A PRETTY SHOE-STRING OPERATION. YOU DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES OF THE PEOPLE YOU'RE FIGHTING AGAINST FOR THESE REFERENDA. HAS THERE BEEN ANY THOUGHT GIVEN TO TRYING TO MAKE THIS AN ISSUE IN OTHER CAMPAIGNS, TO TRYING TO SHIRTTAIL ONTO ANOTHER LARGER ELECTION THAT'S BETTER FINANCED, GETTING A GUBERNATORIAL OR A SENATE CANDIDATE TO WEIGH IN ON IT, GETTING OTHER POLITICIANS INVOLVED IN IT?

Coates: I THINK IT'S A GOOD QUESTION, MIKE. WE'VE DISCUSSED THAT BUT, QUITE FRANKLY, NEITHER CANDIDATE OF ANY PARTY REALLY WANTS TO GET AHOLD OF THIS ISSUE. THE DISPARITY THAT YOU TALK ABOUT IS IMMENSE, BUT WE CAN'T FIND A PLACE TO GRAB AHOLD OF. SINCE WE'RE UNWILLING TO TAKE THE CASINOS MONEY THAT DAVE ALLUDED TO AND SINCE WE'RE UNABLE TO GENERATE BUSINESS OR OTHER TYPES OF POLITICAL MONEY, WE'RE AT A REAL -- THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT MR. EHRECKE AND PEOPLE LIKE HIMSELF ARE PAID SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO GO OUT AND TO POUND THIS ISSUE. PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF ARE OUT HERE BECAUSE OF OUR PERSONAL CONVICTIONS. THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE.

Yepsen: BUT, MR. COATES, SHOULDN'T THAT TELL YOU SOMETHING? IF YOU CAN'T GET LEADING POLITICAL FIGURES, IF YOU CAN'T GET LEADING BUSINESSPEOPLE, IF YOU CAN'T RAISE ANY MONEY, THAT MAYBE, IN FACT, A MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE AGAINST YOU AND DO LIKE THIS FORM OF GAMING? LOOK AT THE POLLS IN POLK COUNTY. CLOSE TO 60 PERCENT OF VOTERS SAY THEY WANT TO RENEW THIS. WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU?

Coates: WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT A TAR BABY THIS IS, BECAUSE THE CONSERVATIVES, THE CHRISTIANS ARE VERY MUCH OPPOSED TO IT. SO PEOPLE ON THE RIGHT DON'T WANT TO TIE INTO THIS BECAUSE, ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE'S A GREAT DEAL OF INFLUENCE AND MONEY ON THIS ISSUE. AND, YES, THERE'S A PERCEPTION THAT THIS IS A GOOD THING, EVEN THOUGH AT THE CORE IT CAN'T BE BECAUSE IT'S COMING FROM OUR OWN POCKETS AND IT'S JUST RECIRCULATING. BUT IT'S DOING -- WITH THE DEPENDENCY, WE TRIPLED THE NUMBER OF ADDICTS IN THIS STATE IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, AND THAT NUMBER ARE THE ONES THAT FALL OFF: EMBEZZLE FROM COMPANIES, YOU KNOW, THE EASTER SEALS LADY; ROB BANKS, LIKE THE FELLA OVER IN DESOTO. THOSE ARE THE MANIFESTATIONS OF WHAT'S HAPPENING.

Yepsen: MR. EHRECKE, I WANT TO GO BACK TO THIS GAMBLING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM YOU MENTIONED A MOMENT AGO. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT HAS NEVER BEEN FULLY FUNDED FOR SEVERAL YEARS. AND EVERY YEAR THE POLITICIANS AT THE STATEHOUSE ALWAYS COME IN AND GRAB THAT POT OF MONEY TO DO SOMETHING ELSE WITH. NOW, I SEE YOU UP THERE LOBBYING TO TRY TO GET MONEY FOR IT, BUT I DON'T SEE A WHOLE LOT OF OTHER GAMBLING LOBBYISTS UP THERE TURNING THE CRANK, TRYING TO PROTECT THAT FUND. SO ISN'T IT A LITTLE DISINGENUOUS OF YOU TO SIT HERE AND CITE THAT PROGRAM WHEN IT ISN'T FULLY FUNDED?

Ehrecke: THAT IS ONE OF OUR TOP PRIORITIES TO GET THAT FUNDED.

Yepsen: WELL, WHY HASN'T IT HAPPENED?

Ehrecke: WELL, BECAUSE -- GOOD QUESTION. DARN GOOD QUESTION. WE'D LIKE TO SEE THE LEGISLATORS STEP FORWARD AND GET THAT. WE PAY 3/10 OF A PERCENT, A TOTAL OF $2.8 MILLION, ALONG WITH THE LOTTERY A HALF MILLION, AND THAT CAN DEFINITELY HAVE THE BEST TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OUTREACH --

Yepsen: SO IS THIS ONE YOU AGREE WITH HIM ON?

Ehrecke: I HOPE SO. I'D LIKE TO HAVE HIM UP THERE. I'VE ASKED HIM TO DO THAT, COME UP AND STAND BESIDE US SO WE CAN GET IT PASSED.

Coates: THE STRUCTURE IS SET UP -- 3/10 OF 1 PERCENT IS A BEAUTIFUL STRUCTURE, AND IT SHOULD BE THE MODEL. IN FACT, WHEN I SPOKE IN FRONT OF THE NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION IN VEGAS BACK IN '98, I SAID THIS IS THE MODEL FOR THE COUNTRY. WHAT'S HAPPENED IS THAT LEGISLATORS THAT OWE THEIR ALLEGIANCE TO THE CASINOS YEARS AGO GUTTED THE FUND AND IT'S JUST PERPETUATED.

Ehrecke: WRONG, ABSOLUTELY WRONG.

Coates: NO, IT'S TRUE.

Ehrecke: WHAT THEY DID WAS THEY SAID THAT SUBSTANCE ABUSE IS A FAR GREATER PROBLEM. THEY STOOD UP ON THE FLOOR AND SAID THAT. THAT'S WHERE WE WANTED TO REDIRECT OUR MONEY TO BECAUSE IT'S A FAR GREATER PROBLEM IN OUR STATE. AND THAT'S WHY WE'RE HAVING DIFFICULTY GETTING IT BACK TO BEING RESTORED TO WHERE WE NEED TO BE.

Borg: MR. EHRECKE, AS YOU TRY TO RENEW THE LICENSES IN THESE TEN IOWA COUNTIES, ARE YOU ALSO THINKING THAT YOU WANT TO EXPAND? IS THERE ROOM FOR EXPANSION OR HAS IOWA REACHED A SATURATION POINT IN GAMBLING OPERATIONS, GIVEN THERE'S ALSO INTERSTATE COMPETITION, ILLINOIS AND MAYBE NEBRASKA.

Ehrecke: WELL, THERE CERTAINLY HAS BEEN OTHER AREAS OF THE STATE THAT HAVE EXPRESSED AN INTEREST IN WANTING TO HAVE GAMING PROPERTIES. THEY SEE THE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE. THEY SEE WHAT THE BENEFITS HAVE BEEN TO THE COMMUNITY. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS NOT UP FOR US TO DECIDE. THAT HAS TO BE FOR THE LEGISLATURE AND REALLY THE RACING AND GAMING COMMISSION. WE HAVE AN EXCELLENT REGULATOR IN PLACE THAT WOULD WANT TO DETERMINE THE VIABILITY. CERTAINLY THE VOTERS IN EACH OF THOSE COUNTIES, JUST LIKE WE'RE REAUTHORIZING AND REAPPROVING THESE TEN COUNTIES, IT WOULD HAVE TO BE THE VOTERS THAT WOULD HAVE TO COME FORWARD AND SAY, "YES, THIS IS WHAT WE WANT FOR OUR COMMUNITY. WE'D LIKE TO SEE THIS COME." THEY'LL HAVE TO DECIDE THAT.

Glover: MR. COATES, LET'S STEP BACK FOR JUST A SECOND AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE AND LOOK AT THE BASICS. AS DEAN MENTIONED IN HIS INTRODUCTION, REVENUES ARE UP, ATTENDANCE IS UP, THESE PLACES ARE PRETTY POPULAR. AS A PRAGMATIC MATTER, IF I'VE NEVER SET FOOT IN AN IOWA CASINO, ISN'T IT IN MY INTEREST TO VOTE TO RENEW THESE THINGS BECAUSE IF I DON'T MY TAX BILL IS GOING TO GO UP? HOW DO YOU ANSWER THOSE BASIC QUESTIONS?

Coates: WELL, THAT IS A BASIC QUESTION, BUT WE ANSWER IT AGAIN FROM THE STANDPOINT THAT IF YOU DON'T GO TO THE CASINO, YOU HAVE THE BIGGEST BEST INTEREST IN VOTING NO, BECAUSE WHAT WE'RE SAYING IS THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS STUDY CAME OUT LAST YEAR, SHOWED THAT FOR EVERY $1 GENERATED IN GAMBLING REVENUE FOR A CONVENIENCE LOCATION LIKE PRAIRIE MEADOWS, YOU'RE GOING TO SPEND $1.9 BACK IN DIRECT AND INDIRECT SOCIAL COST. SO WE THINK THAT YOU HAVE THE LARGEST VESTED INTEREST IN VOTING NO.

Glover: MR. EHRECKE, LET'S TAKE IT TO YOU. ISN'T GAMBLING A RATHER SHAKY FOUNDATION ON WHICH TO BUILD LONG-TERM ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS, AND HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH QUESTIONS OF THE SOCIAL COST? WE CAN ARGUE ABOUT HOW LARGE THE SOCIAL COSTS ARE, BUT THERE ARE SOCIAL COSTS. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS?

Ehrecke: FIRST OF ALL, EACH OF THESE GAMING AREAS IN COUNTIES WHERE THEY'RE LOCATED HAVE SEEN THE ECONOMIC VITALITY THAT -- THEY'VE BEEN A CATALYST FOR SPAWNING OFF FOR NEW RESTAURANTS, SHOPS, OTHER ENTERTAINMENT OPTIONS. A GOOD EXAMPLE OVER IN COUNCIL BLUFFS, A RESTAURANT THAT LOCATED RIGHT NEAR THE CASINOS HAS DOUBLED IN SIZE. THEY APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF THAT. THEY'VE SEEN THAT. THE FACT THAT THE COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR THAT PEOPLE WERE VULNERABLE TO -- WE HAVE EXCELLENT PROACTIVE PROGRAMS TO ASSIST WITH THAT. WHEN TOM MENTIONED ABOUT CONVENIENCE GAMBLING, KIND OF CITING PRAIRIE MEADOWS, HE SHOULD KNOW BETTER BECAUSE THE NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION PUT RIGHT IN THERE -- IN THEIR REPORT THAT THE CONVENIENCE GAMBLING IS THE PLACEMENT OF SLOT MACHINES AND VIDEO POKER TERMINALS IN RESTAURANTS, BARS, DRUG STORES, AND OTHER RETAIL BUSINESSES MEANT TO ATTRACT. THAT'S NOT WHAT WE'RE ABOUT. WE ARE ABOUT DESTINATION GAMBLING, WHICH PROVIDES NUMEROUS JOBS, RESTAURANTS, AND SHOPPING. SO IT'S NOT ON SHAKY GROUND. IT HAS TO CONTINUED TO BUILD VERY VIABLE, THRIVING COMMUNITIES --

Yepsen: MR. COATES.

Ehrecke: -- AND THEY'RE GRATEFUL FOR THAT.

Yepsen: I WANT TO GO BACK TO MIKE'S QUESTION ABOUT THE BASICS. GAMBLING HAS BEEN WITH US SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME. THEY GAMBLED FOR CHRIST'S ROBE. SO AREN'T WE BETTER OFF AS A SOCIETY TO LEGALIZE GAMBLING AND CAPTURE SOME TAX REVENUES, BECAUSE IF WE BAN IT, ALL YOU'RE GOING TO DO IS TURN IT OVER TO THE MOB?

Coates: ANOTHER EXCELLENT QUESTION. AND I COULD MAKE THAT SAME EXACT POINT WHEN YOU ARGUE THE LEGALIZATION OF DRUGS. IF YOU LEGALIZE DRUGS TOMORROW, I EMPLOY PEOPLE, I TAX PEOPLE IT, I RUN THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT OUT, I GIVE MY EXCESS TO CHARITY. ALL THE POINTS THAT PRAIRIE MEADOWS AND THE OTHER AREAS WILL MENTION CAN BE USED IF YOU LEGALIZE DRUGS TOMORROW. THE PROBLEM IS IN SIX YEARS YOU PROBABLY TRIPLE THE ADDICTION RATE, JUST LIKE WE DID WITH GAMBLING.

Borg: AND THAT'S ALL. I JUST HAVE TO STOP RIGHT THERE. WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," AGAIN FOCUSING ON THE 2002 CAMPAIGN, LOOKING TO THE ISSUES DRIVING THOSE CAMPAIGNS. JOINING US HERE AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE NEXT WEEK, REPUBLICAN MIKE MAHAFFEY OF MONTEZUMA AND DEMOCRAT JERRY CRAWFORD OF DES MOINES. WE'LL ASK THEM TO ANALYZE THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND CANDIDATE STRATEGIES, NEXT WEEK FRIDAY AT 6.30, SUNDAY AT NOON, HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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