Backers of a gambling casino in Fort Dodge say they can open the doors to a temporary casino this fall if state regulators give the city a gambling license. Steve Daniel, a Fort Dodge businessman who’s chairman of the “Mineral City Hotel and Casino” board of director, made the announcement during testimony yesterday before the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Daniel says Fort Dodge is ready to go, it just needs the “green light” from state gambling regulators.”We need to keep our area of the state alive and we need to make it grow,” Daniel said. “Our area is seeing some success and some resurgence. We believe strongly that this project is an important part of our economic and population comeback.” James Crane is executive director of Webster County Development, “The casino industry is a good economic engine for an area,” Crane says, but he says coupled with an A-T-V park, the nearby Brushy Creek state recreational area and the Harlan Rogers athletic complex that hosts the state softball tournament, the Fort Dodge area will have a tourism “cluster” that will attract visitors. Fort Dodge casino backers were among 10 groups that outlined their casino plans for state officials Tuesday and Wednesday. The smallest proposal came from Worth County, which hopes to establish a casino just a few miles south of the Minnesota border, just off Interstate-35. Kim Miller has been one of the major proponents of the plan. “We needed something to get back on our feet, and we thought this just might be the thing to do it,” Miller says. If state regulators give Worth County a gambling license, part of the charitable donations from casino profits would be used to provide college scholarships to every high school graduate in the county. The final presentation came from a Palo Alto County group that hopes to land a casino on Five Island Lake near Emmetsburg. Rick Jones of the Palo Alto County Development Corporation says the plan from his group differs from the one another Emmetsburg-area group is pushing. Jones says his group wants to put the casino right on Five Island Lake.
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