Readers Respond

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Give small business a touch of gaming money

To The Editor:

Please let small businesses have Touch Play machines. My name is Stan Peterson. My family and I own the only grocery store in Albert City, a town of 750 people in Northwest Iowa. I don't particularly favor gambling. But we have it and I wonder why should our state government take the position that only giant out-of-state gaming corporations, a couple of Indian Tribes and a handful of wealthy horse owners be the sole beneficiaries.

The Touch Play lottery machine in my store allows me to capture a tiny share of the overall revenue flowing into Iowa's gaming industry and now that's apparently a threat to the casinos.

Our state is throwing massive amounts of revenue and incentives in many directions to try to stimulate economic growth. I think it's only fair that Iowa's smallest businesses be allowed to share in this, instead of sending revenue out for the benefit of largely out-of-state management companies for the casinos.

The casino companies will stop at nothing and spend a fortune on lobbyists and advertising to try to protect their slot revenues. Apparently my Touch Play machine is a threat to them. I can see that perhaps some of my customers, in the face of high gas prices, may opt to skip the casino this week and stop in my store. I hope so.

The gambling interests will trot out their employees and vendors to suggest that tiny revenue streams like my Touch Play machines threaten their jobs and businesses. That's pure balderdash.

We don't have any money to hire expensive lobbyists, but we can use email and phone calls to make our points. Right now, call or email your own legislator and state that the Touch Play machines allow us for the first time to compete with the casinos that are sucking profits from your community. Tell other business owners to call or email their legislators.

This is a matter of fairness and survival.

- Stan Peterson, City Market, Albert City