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Gambling Isn't Economic Development

Ed Fallon

Des Moines Register

January 24, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

I write to clarify my position on the new TouchPlay lottery machines, as reported in the Register Jan. 12 ("Candidates Want Machines Removed"). I support the governor's moratorium preventing further proliferation of these devices, and I'm eager to see what conclusions his task force reaches.

I have always firmly opposed expanded gambling. The Iowa Lottery's introduction of TouchPlay machines clearly broadens the scope and availability of gambling. The eventual impact of this expansion on families, communities and taxpayers is significant and highly detrimental.

I understand the position of small-business owners who want the opportunity to display these machines to try to capture some of the revenue lost to casinos. There's no doubt that the state's economic-development initiatives neglect the interests of small-business owners. But another significant expansion of gambling is certainly not the answer.

Gambling isn't economic development. It isn't adding to Iowa's wealth and vitality, but merely moving the furniture around.

State Rep. Ed Fallon
Des Moines