Consultants told the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission today that the state would be taking a big gamble if new licenses were granted for more casinos in Iowa. The studies from two consulting firms, hired by the commission to analyze the Iowa market, present a high hurdle to clear for supporters of proposed casinos in Greene and Linn County.
The reports suggest a casino in downtown Cedar Rapids could generate up to $82.3 million in annual revenue, but would cut revenues at the nearby Riverside Casino by 30-percent. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is hoping commissioners will ultimately look at the bottom line. “These two studies show an actual net increase of gaming revenue to the state,” Corbett said. “That’s one of the factors that they have to look at — the overall health and what that means to state revenue.”
Wild Rose Entertainment wants to build a casino in Jefferson, but the consultants suggest a facility there would also siphon revenues from other gaming facilities. Wild Rose President Tom Timmons noted the revenues at a Wild Rose-owned casino in Emmetsburg would be cut by nine-percent, according to the studies. “I don’t agree with that number, but that’s what they said. Using their numbers, everybody else, would be impacted 3 to 4 percent. So, I think it shows the commission what they wanted to see – that we’re not impacting any existing casino,” Timmons said.
The Racing and Gaming Commission is expected to determine the fate of the proposed Cedar Rapids casino in mid-April and the Jefferson proposal sometime this summer.