High turnout is expected today as Black Hawk County voters are deciding whether or not they want a riverboat casino in Waterloo. Leaders on both sides of the issue say there’s plenty at stake for the Cedar Valley’s economy. Proponents are touting as many as 800 new jobs and money for tax relief and other projects they say a casino would bring to the area. Opponents say the casino would result in more crime and social problems, which would hurt existing businesses and cost taxpayers more in the long run. The Isle of Capri wants to invest 80 (m) million dollars in a casino and hotel/restaurant complex near a water park in southeast Waterloo, a plan even some supporters say will take visitors away from struggling downtown. A “yes” vote doesn’t mean the proposed casino complex will be built. Today’s measure is to allow a gambling boat in the county. Other plans could surface later and be developed. If the referendum passes, the state gaming commission must still decide whether any new gambling permits will be issued. If voters reject the measure, the issue can’t be put back on the ballot again for two years.
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