Gambling Legislation

Iowa ready to receive new casino license applications

Iowa ready to receive new casino license applications

The Racing Commission will start reviewing applications this week

Casino hopefuls in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are gearing up for a potential new development. A joint application from Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) and the Linn County Gaming Association is expected at the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) by the end of the month, marking the start of a formal review process.

Supporters of the project believe a casino would bring significant benefits to the city. P2E’s Jonathan Swain emphasizes they’ve been developing the proposal for years, with plans including amenities, a building, and a new location. Linn County Gaming Association’s Anne Parmley highlights that the project promises substantial financial contributions. “It’s the highest gaming revenue contribution in the state,” she claims, projecting $5-7 million annually directed towards local nonprofits.

However, the proposal isn’t without opposition. Gary Thelen, a resident from West Des Moines, points to the 2003 defeat of a similar casino proposal by voters. He argues that potential investors were discouraged then, hindering Cedar Rapids’ development. Existing casinos also express concern about potential revenue loss due to “cannibalization,” a term referring to a new casino drawing customers away from established ones.

The IRGC, led by Chair Daryl Olsen, acknowledges these concerns. Olsen emphasizes a multi-faceted review process, including a market study on the proposed casino’s impact on tourism and existing gambling businesses. These studies typically take two to three months to complete.

The Commission has also committed to establishing a clear timeline by next Friday. The entire application process typically takes six to nine months, providing a timeframe for Cedar Rapids residents to receive a definitive answer regarding the casino’s approval.

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