Warren County Citizens Get the Credit

“It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”
― John Wooden

The FAMiLY LEADER was asked several times by the media why we were getting involved with a local issue like the vote on gambling in Warren County.  The answer is simple – because families are at stake.  No matter where or what it takes, we try and do what we can.  We were happy to do target phone calls, coordinate a townhall meeting, and use our communications to assist Erica Isley of NoCasinoWarrenCounty.com, Tom Coates of Consumer Credit of Des Moines, Tamara Scott of Concerned Women for America of Iowa, the local churches, and the countless Warren County citizens who worked tirelessly.  It is them, not us, that deserve the credit for this win.

We don’t know how many lives may have been saved, how many bankruptcies may have been avoided, how many families will stay intact because of how the vote went.  But we do know that the Warren County citizens did the bold thing, the hard thing, and loudly shouted, “NO! We value our families and communities more than we want the allurement of easy money.”

Bob recaps the vote and celebrates with Tamara Scott and Greg Baker how the election became such a huge success:

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/qwS3L5jg1aU” width=”425″ height=”229″ rel=”0″ showinfo=”0″]
duration ~ 13:00

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WATCH: Bob Discusses Marriage with Sen. McCoy

Bob Vander Plaats and Senator Matt McCoy discussed the importance of marriage and family in the wake of a formerly-unknown NBA player, Jason Collins announcing he was now part of the homosexual lifestyle.  Bob pointed out:

  • Any sex outside of marriage is against the heart of God.
  • No one opposed to the homosexual lifestyle has called for him to resign from basketball.
  • Sex within marriage is the healthiest and best way to live.
  • The FAMiLY LEADER is about championing the gold standard – we want only the best for Iowa’s families.


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Part 2:

  • Why same-sex “marriage” exists.
  • What happens when you undefine marriage?
  • What does it say about a party if they change their position on a foundational issue like marriage?

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Part 3:

  • Why TFL is involved opposing a casino in Warren County.
  • Why gambling hurts families.
  • What impact gambling has in a community.


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Part 4:

  • Why the Senate investigation of Kent Sorenson needs to be put to rest quickly.
  • What impact this investigation could have on the Iowa Caucuses.

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Part 5:

Predictions!  What would happen if the US Supreme Court overturns marriage.

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Video: Townhall on Warren Co. Casino

Duration: 2:25 “Vote NO” was the recurring theme of speakers who addressed the problems that come with allowing gambling into a community.

Watch the reports on KCCI and WOI last night…

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Norwalk Casino Editorial by Tom Coates

By Tom Coates –

During the recent debate over a proposed casino in Warren County and Norwalk, I find a real need to clarify the business model of the “convenience casino”. This model is contrasted with the “tourist model” employed by Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The tourist model brings the majority of its’ revenues from patrons outside their immediate geographical area. The convenience model employed by all 21 Iowa casinos relies almost entirely on revenues derived from natives who live within the 40 mile radius referred to as their feeder market. Approximately 80% comes from the feeder market.

The reason that this is important to understand is that this 80% represents a cannibalization of existing businesses of all types. The money spent on gambling would otherwise have gone to the purchase of goods and services already offered in the community.

If the effect stopped there it wouldn’t be a huge concern, but it doesn’t. To more fully understand the convenience casino business model, you must look at what percentage of their handle comes from addicted gamblers. Studies by various researchers have shown 40-50% come from problem and pathological gamblers. The emergence of the addicted gambler is shown by Iowa’s timeline prevalence study done in 1989 and again in 1995 after the arrival of casinos. Iowa went from 1.7% of population being problem or pathological to 5.4%. This increase appeared most acutely within the boundaries of the feeder market. Further, the closer the patron resides to the casino, the more likely the occurrence of the addictions.

From 1994 until 2000, my company administered the Iowa gambling hotline, 1-800-BETS-OFF. We witnessed the crisis calls increase from dozens to hundreds a month. These calls were most prevalent in the immediate surrounding areas of casinos.

The desire to keep this addicted 5% of Iowans continuing to provide their casinos with their dollars manifested itself with recent legislation. This would allow a banned problem gambler to unban themselves after 5 years, as if the result would be different the second time around.

The effects of creating pathological gamblers in our midst show a wide range of social pathologies playing out. Among these pathologies are: 22% divorce due to gambling, 49% steal to feed the habit, 40% lose their jobs, 63% contemplate suicide and 18% attempt suicide. Highest suicide rate for any addiction as heroin is next closest with 9%.
Two areas that have been measured by research in Iowa are attendant bankruptcies and crime. On bankruptcy, ISU performed a study in 1998 that showed 19% of the state’s filings were the result of gambling. SMR Research did two separate nationwide studies on counties with casinos that showed nearly identical results.

On crime, a recent survey of Iowa cities with casinos, showed an elevated crime index of 206% over cities with no casino. The leading national researcher, Professor Earl Grinols, with Baylor University, has done extensive national work that confirms the Iowa research. Grinols studies show that by year 5 of a casino opening in a community, the following crimes increase: Robbery + 136%; Aggravated assault + 91%; Auto theft +78%; Burglary +50%; Larceny + 38%; Rape + 20%. The costs are significant to any city embracing this model.

Some try to deny the crime increases by relying on statements from heads of local law enforcement. These individuals are often the biggest proponents of the casinos due to the increases in funding, staff, squad cars and equipment. Their statements must be weighed in regards to their own perceived self interest, since objective research soundly contradicts it.

In closing, citizens must decide if they indeed want to embrace even more of these convenience casinos. I hope I have provided enough valuable evidence to persuade them to the contrary.

Tom Coates, President, Consumer Credit of Des Moines

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5 Reasons to Stop the Norwalk Casino

On May 7, 2013 the people of Warren County are going to be voting on whether or not to legalize gambling in Warren County.  Wild Rose Entertainment has proposed to build a casino in Warren County, and they have promised millions of new tax dollars for the county and schools, as well as hundreds of new jobs.

Our opposition, the gambling industry, has been spending big dollars to convince people that there is a need for a casino in Norwalk, and The FAMiLY LEADER would like to assist local residents looking to stop this vice industry from coming into their community. The FAMiLY LEADER is in need of $5,000 to run a strong final push before the election. A gracious donor has contributed $2500 to the cause.  That means we just need an additional $2500 by Tuesday to fund our final efforts.

Please help us reach $5000 to fund our final push in the next few days before the election and donate $35, $50, or $500.Donate-Today_3smlst


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1. This state of 3 million people already has too many casinos.

The promises being made to Warren County are all stories Iowans have heard before: “If we build this casino it will bring in hundreds of jobs and jump start economic growth in our city.”  Ever since legalizing riverboat casinos in 1989, Iowa has turned into a “Cornfield Vegas.”  The state of Iowa has 18 casinos, with the proposed additions of Cedar Rapids and Norwalk, Iowa would house 20.

2. Economic development modeled after Nevada bankrupts the community.

It appears that Iowa has become reliant on casinos to pay for its government, and as a source of economic development.  Its’s as if we are trying to become another Nevada, which has the notorious gambling cities of Reno and Las Vegas.  Unfortunately, Nevada is known for more than casinos. A few other “accolades” include: highest bankruptcy rate in the country, highest high school dropout rate, highest violent crime rate, third worst overall crime rate, fifth highest suicide rate, and according to Forbes Magazine, Nevada is one of the worst states to retire in.  Gallup polling also found Nevada to be the fourth worst state to live in, while her neighboring state, Utah, was rated the best state to live (Utah is one of two states in America that doesn’t allow gambling).  For those who say gambling does not have an effect on culture, please explain Nevada.

3. Casinos have tremendous societal costs.

Norwalk should carefully weigh if all these so-called “new money and jobs” are what Norwalk really needs.  Norwalk is currently known as a quiet, safe community with excellent public schools and as a great place to raise a family.  Bringing in a casino would fundamentally change the city’s culture.  The once quiet, peaceful town would be filled with a gaudy Vegas-like atmosphere.  It would no longer be the attractive community close to Des Moines that young families desire to move to.  Instead, “What happens in Norwalk, will stay in Norwalk.”

4. Norwalk doesn’t need a casino to grow and develop.

As the Des Moines metro continues to grow more and more, young families will desire to move to communities like Norwalk.  If they build the casino, all Norwalk will receive is short-term, quick growth with lingering socio-economic problems.  Without the casino, Norwalk will continue to grow at a steady rate, but will grow in a way that will be much more beneficial for the community long-term.  Waukee doesn’t have a casino, and it seem to be doing well.  In fact, Hy-Vee and multiple other companies are looking to locate in Waukee.  Norwalk will benefit much more in the long-term if they choose to not build the casino.

5. Casinos make millions by taking millions.

Casinos prey off of the most vulnerable in society who often turn to casinos out of a desperate last resort.  Some get lucky and win big, but a vast majority find themselves on the fast track to bankruptcy. What will casino customers have to show at the end of a gambling day besides an empty wallet and the constant sounds of slot machines echoing over and over in their heads? Big, fancy casino buildings aren’t built by giving away too much money.  The only way casinos can give millions, is by making millions more off Iowa residents.


The state of Iowa should abandon the idea of an intentional vice as a source of economic development and government growth.  Iowa needs to find true economic development that brings good paying jobs to our state and doesn’t prey on the poorest of our society.  Norwalk, please protect the culture and image of your beautiful community and vote No on this casino.


Please help us reach $5000 to fund our final push in the next few days before the election and donate $35, $50, or $500.


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