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Civic Skinny

Iowa ranks 4th in gambling. ISU (finally) sends coaching contracts. State Fair has 2nd largest attendance ever.

9/6/2023

Winter and construction may be known as Iowa’s two seasons, but it might be time to add a third: gambling. New research from casinos.com details gambling expenditures across several states and shows Iowans — and not just university athletes — have an affinity for placing bets that rivals those from states in the rest of the country. See details at www.casinos.com/news/america-s-biggest-gamblers.

Not surprisingly, Nevada tops the list of states with a reported $14,842,230,000 in state gambling revenue, with residents spending 1.75% of their yearly income at the casino. If you left your yearly gambling trip or bachelor party thinking you beat the house, the numbers make it clear you didn’t. 

The report lists Iowa’s average annual income at $80,316, with residents spending an average of $776.06 on gambling per year, ranking Iowa a surprising fourth on the list for percent of average income spent at .84%. Not only that, but the state’s gambling revenue also totaled out at a reported $1,930,790,000. 

Casinos.com used information for this report from Statista. Statista’s report had revenue numbers from 34 states. Despite ranking 32nd in population, the nearly $2 billion in Iowa gambling revenue was good enough for 12th. Of the 12 states in the report with more revenue than Iowa, nine of them ranked inside the top 20 for population, leaving gambling juggernaut Nevada and Mississippi as the only states with less population ahead of Iowa on the list. …

Gambling and Iowa have been at the forefront of national news lately. Both Iowa State University and the University of Iowa have been involved in gambling scandals this summer involving current and former players.

In total, 17 athletes between both schools have been cited with illegal sports gambling. Nine are from ISU and eight from UI. The charges against them range from gambling underage, gambling under other alias (which included placing wages under their parents’ names), placing wagers on and against their own teams, and, in one such case, a former ISU football player placing wagers on NFL games that he was playing in.

The 17 players involved made slightly more than 10,000 wagers, and between the 12 athletes who had their money wagered listed in the complaints, more than $84,000 in bets were placed. . . .

Last month, CITYVIEW analyzed and detailed the coaching contracts from Iowa’s major universities, those being ISU, UI and UNI. The report included each school’s prominent football coaches and two other coaching contracts from each university. ISU was unable to provide two of the contracts at press time due to what we were told was “a difficulty in acquiring necessary signatures.” The requested contracts were those of head tennis coach, Jaron Maestas, and director of track and field and cross country, Jeremy Sudbury. The contracts have since been sent to CITYVIEW.

Maestas agreed in August of 2023 to a contract extension through 2028 with a base salary of $150,000. Maestas has several performance-based incentives in his new extension, including two weeks’ pay for every Big 12 conference championship and for at-large bids to the NCAA tournament. He can receive one week’s pay for each time the team advances in the NCAA tournament from the round of 16, to winning the national championship.

Sudbury remains under the same contract from 2021 that will take him through 2026 with a base salary of $185,000. Like Maestas and many others, Sudbury has performance-based incentives that can see him earn additional revenue. 

If the men’s or women’s track and field and cross-country teams win any of the indoor or outdoor seasons, he will receive a $10,000 bonus. If the program wins all three, otherwise known as the “Big 12 triple crown,” Sudbury would earn another $20,000. 

Sudbury’s incentives remain the same for both men’s and women’s programs in track and field and cross country, indoor or outdoor: $5,000 for finishing in the top 25, $10,000 for a top 10 finish, $15,000 for top five, and $25,000 for a national championship.

Sudbury is also provided with the use of one automobile as part of the athletic department’s car program, as long as the vehicle is only provided in assisting the carrying out of coaching duties. …

With Grandstand acts over, ribbons passed out and fried food devoured, the 10 days of the Iowa State Fair are complete, with historic numbers to show for it.

The 2023 state fair was the second-largest (first being 2019) in its 169-year history, with final attendance numbers reported by readMedia Newswire at 1,133,958. To boot, Aug. 13 was a first Sunday record that saw 114,937 attendees at the fairgrounds throughout the day, beating out the previous record from 2017 of 112,396.

A total of 112,258 fairgoers made their way to the Grandstand for various acts throughout the two weeks. The Chicks and Eric Church had the most-attended shows, both attracting more than 17,000 in the gates. The dual show from Ludacris and Sean Kingston sold a notable 1,159 tickets the day of their show. …

Kristian Day, who writes the Des Moines Forgotten feature in CITYVIEW each month, is also a film producer and production manager. He officially closed with Amazon on the “Chiefsaholic” documentary and will be shooting September through January to wrap it up. He also sold a docuseries with OutTV called “The Last American Gay Bar,” which is about Blazing Saddles in Des Moines. He will be starting that project in November, and it will go until April 2024. In addition, Day received a green light grant through the department of cultural affairs for a documentary on Dick Klemensen and his magazine, Little Shoppe of Horrors. …

The Des Moines Register announced on Aug. 24 that Shannon Welch has been named the “general manager” in the Des Moines market, effective Oct. 1. A news release stated that, in this role, Welch will “work closely with the executive editor to strengthen local connection points with businesses and brands to drive community-based strategies and engagement.” Welch is a decade-long Gannett employee.  

The Register still does not have a publisher and has not since David Chivers left in 2018. The short list of past publishers includes many who made great contributions to the newspaper, to the community and to the state including pre-Gannett-era Gardner Cowles, David Kruidenier and Gary Gerlach and Gannett-era Charles Edwards, Mary Stier and Laura Hollingsworth.  

Chivers, who was born and raised in Des Moines, had his first job delivering the paper. He, like Welch, built a career in digital innovation. Chivers is now the founder of Digital Acceleration Partners and says he has “a proven track record of driving top and bottom line growth, leading turnarounds, global expansions and growth strategies.” Chivers took over for Rick Green, who left the Register’s publisher post in February of 2015 and Gannett in December 2020. Green was recently named the executive editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky. He will begin in that role on Sept. 25.

National Dog Day in the U.S. was on Aug. 26. Camp Bow Wow released what they believe to be the most popular dog breeds in Des Moines, with Labrador retrievers leading the pack, followed by golden-doodles, Australian shepherds, golden retrievers and last, but certainly not least, German shepherds. ♦

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