On 12/16/2016, The Des Moines Register reported that the Iowa Public Information Board had ruled that Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino was not a “government body” according to their rules and, therefore, was not required to follow open records laws, and not required to provide the Register with records pertaining contracts of its top executives. (See link below.)
The Register can appeal the decision, and has some good arguments why Prairie Meadow should be subject to open records laws. But even if Prairie Meadows is not required to follow open records laws, they could still release the records voluntarily. Just because it is legal to do something does not mean it is the right thing to do. Prairie Meadows would not exist if not for the original support of Polk County taxpayers. The board claims that Prairie Meadows is a not-for-profit organization, (even though the IRS disagrees). I don’t understand why any board member would want to be anything other than completely transparent about the operations of Prairie Meadows? I presume that none of them feel they have anything to hide.
I appeal to the board members of Prairie Meadows to simply do the right thing, and voluntarily open their records to the public, and the Des Moines Register.
Link to Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/local/government/2016/12/15/iowa-board-says-prairie-meadows-records-can-secret/95492840/
Only government could create a situation like we have with the casinos and the dog racing industry. Casinos want to pay the dog racing people $92 million so that they won’t be required to continue to subsidize dog racing.
In any kind of free market situation, the casinos would either shut down the dog tracks or sell them to a private investors, if any could be found. In a free market, casinos would have competition. But, in Iowa, the casinos are protected from competition by government. Recently the Racing and Gaming Commission ruled against a couple of proposed new casinos because they would “cannibalize” other casinos. So, casino profits are protected and dog owners get bailed out. This is cronyism at its best.
The only good thing about this whole situation is that taxpayers are not on the hook.
Iowa originally got into gambling by legalizing betting on horse racing and dog racing. Legalization of gambling was sold to the public, in part, as an economic development idea. Horse breeding and training jobs would be created. Voluntary gambling would not only pay for the racing purses (and get the money to the animal owners and trainers to create the jobs), but would also provide money to governments and charities. Of course, as it has evolved, there is not enough money being gambled on either horse or dog races to pay for the purses, much less any money for government or charities. Profits from traditional casino gambling are covering the tremendous losses from animal racing.
There is a proposal in the Iowa Legislature to end dog racing by paying $70 million dollars to the private dog racing industry. There is no current proposal to end horse racing. Both need to be ended, and there should be no payment to either the horse or dog racing industries. If the racing were eliminated, it should not be allowed to result in windfall profits for private, for-profit owners of casinos that are funding the current losses. If the owners of the of race tracks are willing to pay $70 million to the dog owners in return for ending dog racing, then they should be willing to pay that same $70 million to either government to charities.