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To the Editor:

    A riverboat in Riverside?!  In the quaint pastoral river confluence of the English and Iowa rivers?  Rivers basically suitable for little more than canoes and fishing boats?  This must be some kind of cosmic joke.

    Come on, Riverside citizens, at least such a fantastic proposal could be housed in a replica of Star Trek's Enterprise Space Ship!  That would be in line with what is already your big tourist attraction.  This Riverboat idea should be torpedoes for aesthetic reasons alone--a gaudy, tacky temple for losers (it can't exist without people losing money) disguised as a Disneyesque Mississippi River Boat.

    Plus, what about all the other entertainment venues that will lose big time.  Gambling profits for the boat owners means that food, drinks, and live entertainment can be had for prices considerably below all other commercial outlets.   As a professional entertainer for the past 40 years, I know how much the state licensed monopoly gambling centers have devastated the competition.

    Actually, competition is not the right word.  no one else can have gambling in their establishments.  Can the Shamrock in Ainsworth, Winga's in Washington, the Wagon Wheel, Melody Lanes, etc., have a few gambling machines? No! Why not?  I thought competition was as American as apple pie.

    If gambling is to be legal, it ought to be allowed for every venue owner. 

    My ideal gambling law would allow gambling to all but would limit the number of machines per square foot of the venue in question.  For example, a big riverboat stuck in the middle of an Iowa field would maybe be allowed a dozen games or so.  A smaller place, like the Shamrock in Ainsworth, could have maybe two.  What's wrong with this idea?  And, I won't take "policing problems" for an answer because these concerns are generally based on the morality issue.  

    Now, if a monopoly license is the only solution, then why doesn't the county take it over?  A state representative told me the "dumbest thing Burlington and Forty Madison voters did was allow a private company to hold the gaming monopoly in that area."

    Then again, maybe our elected officials don't want county ownership and actually like being told when to jump and how high.  They're going to be doing a lot of that in the unforeseeable future if voters allow that gambling boat to be built.

    I'm voting "NO."

Patrick Hazell

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