Cedar Rapids developers will find out this fall if their latest attempt to bring a casino to town has succeeded.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission released its timeline for making decision on the casino at their meeting Thursday in Council Bluffs. Three proposals for new casinos located downtown have been submitted.
Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko says the selection process will get started in about three months when the applicants make presentations at the IRGC meeting in Altoona on July 13th. “On September 26th, a special meeting has been scheduled in Cedar Rapids for commission members to visit the sites,” Ohorilko says. There will also be a time for public comment during that September meeting.
Commissioners will get a final big piece of information to help them in their decision at the October 12th meeting. “That will be the meeting where the commission members will receive the results from the market study. That meeting is held in Emmetsburg, Iowa,” Ohorilko explains. “The commission will also get a chance to hear from the DCI as the DCI will be finishing up their background.”
The commission chose White Sand Gaming, of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Marquette Advisors, of Minneapolis from six firms that applied to conduct market studies of the three separate casino license applications. Ohorilko says they are looking for a couple of things from the companies.
“A statewide market assessment to determine if there’s any underserved markets in the state of Iowa. And in addition to that, they’re going to do a targeted analysis looking specifically at the applications that were submitted at Linn County.” The IRGC voted 4-1 to deny a gambling license for a Cedar Rapids casino back in 2014 in part because of concerns about the impact on existing casinos. Ohorilko says this latest market study will provide updated information as commissioners weigh their decision.
He says it will give an idea of how much revenue would be generated by the new casinos and how of that would come from existing casinos. Ohorilko says the commission members plan to vote on the casino license applications at their November 16th meeting at the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque.
The three Cedar Rapids proposals are: the Wild Rose Cedar Rapids, which would cost $40 million. And the Cedar Rapids Development Group-Peninsula Pacific partnership submitted two proposals. They are the Cedar Crossing Central at a cost of $105 million and the Cedar Crossing on the River at $165 million.