Gov. Terry Branstad has taken the final step to launch floating casinos on Iowa's rivers and lakes.

He declared "the integrity of the state will be protected" as more than 50 backers watched him Thursday sign the bill legalizing gambling on casino boats."I couldn't be happier," said Rep. Tom Fey, an author of the gambling bill that culminated a four-year drive. "It took a long, hard effort."

"This bill will provide an economic shot in the arm for many river communities that wish to further promote tourism," Branstad said. "Our major rivers are already prime tourist destination points, and this bill would attract even more tourists to these locations."