BVP: state addicted to gambling

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats says state government has grown addicted to gambling.  Vander Plaats says it’s unrealistic to think the next governor could step in and on day one say, “Let’s close the casinos.”  But Vander Plaats says it’s time to start the process of ending casino-style gambling; pari-mutuel wagering (on horse & dog races) and the state-run Lottery.  He uses the word “wean” in this context. 

Vander Plaats talked about the gambling issue during this morning’s taping of “Iowa Press,” which will air tonight on Iowa Public Television.  After the program’s taping, Vander Plaats spoke with a few reporters in the lobby of IPTV and Vander Plaats said he would seek an immediate change in the tone of Iowa Lottery advertising if he’s elected. 

“It does concern me from not only a parent level but also from an education level…I was always good at teaching kids about perseverance, and that’s why I’m staying in,” Vander Plaats said, with a laugh.  “But we always told the kids, you know, don’t wait on your luck for when your ship will come in one day and yet we have a state saying, ‘This is Iowa’s Way to Play.’ You know Iowa’s way to play is get a good education, work extremely hard, make the right choices and when you do that, your ship’s going to come in.”

Rod Boshart of The Cedar Rapids Gazette asked: “So are saying not only would you like to back up the train and not have the casinos, you’d also like the state out of the gambling business?”

BVP:  “I would like to see it, yeah, even with the state lottery.  I think if we simplify government the way it should be simplified, we put in the pilars for real economic development, I think those are all those things ought to be on the table in regards to the marketing of the state lottery, how much we depend on the state lottery, how much do we look at expanding gambling or how much do we start weaning ourselves off of gambing.”

Kathie Obradovich of The Des Moines Register asked: “Do you start by segregating some of that money and not using it in the general fund?”

BVP: “I think it’s what you have to do because the general fund becomes dependent on that then and that dependency creates that zest that we want more and more gambling and initially when the gambling came in and the state lottery came in, I thought it was all supposed to go to education and I think we’ve found its way into a lot of other avenues today, so that’s where I think we ought to start, you bet, start segregating that money.”

Andy Duffelmeyer of asked: “What are your thoughts on the campaign contributions to Governor Culver that are coming into question right now?”

BVP;  “Well my thoughts on it is obviously I want to see it cleared up, that everybody’s clean on it.  Probably the other thought on it is I’m not sure how the Racing and Gaming Commission…can make a decision until this gets cleaned up.  I don’t think they want a cloud over their head when they’re starting to issue license, if they are going to issue licenses.”

Duffelmeyer:  “What about Donn Stanley taking over as campaign manager?  Do you think there’s a conflict of interest there?”

BVP:  “I have no idea.”

Henderson (me): “Because he came from the attorney general’s office as they were collaborating with the DCI on the investigation.”

BVP shrugged his shoulders, then asked reporters:  “Who’s going to take over our cmpaign?”

Eric Woolson, BVP’s campaign manager, quickly suggested a name: “Donn Stanley.”  Everyone laughed.  Interview over.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Sandra Adell says

    In this era of legalized gambling, it takes a strong-willed politician to step forth and say enough already. When I first learned that Iowa had casinos, I was surprised. I thought, surely hard working Iowans aren’t rushing off to the nearest casino to stuff their hard earned money into slot machines.

    That was in the spring of 2005, when I made my first and only trip to the Diamond Joe Riverboat to gamble. I write about that experience in my recently published book titled CONFESSIONS OF A SLOT MACHINE QUEEN: A MEMOIR.

    I hope Bob Vander Plaats stands firm in his opposition to the expansion of gambling in the state. It won’t be easy because people are easily swayed, especially during this economic crisis, that gambling brings jobs and economic development.

    As I have said over and over again, on radio talk shows and on my blog, it doesn’t take an economist to figure out that gambling is not the way to generate new revenue. Gambling has always brought financial ruin and despair. Legalizing it or calling it “Gaming,” doesn’t change that fact.

    Please see my blog, “A Black Woman’s Reflections on Casino Gambling”


  2. Great Reporting.
    The fact that that there is a BVP abbreviation for the GOP contender adds interest in that it might show people are paying more attention the process. It is most interesting.

  3. Thank you for the chance to contribute..