Voters in far northwest Iowa’s Lyon County will vote later this month on a proposed resort and casino to be built along the Iowa-South Dakota border. Supporters in a group called "Citizens for Economic Growth in Lyon County" turned in more than 1,200 signatures to set up the special election.
Dan Kehl is C-E-O of Kehl Management which would run the proposed resort. Kehl says the attraction to that area is the population of Lyon County and nearby Sioux Falls. The development would include a 90-million dollar golf resort and spa, a 100-room hotel, an event center and the casino. Kehl says if the casino is approved, it would be built over the next few years.
He says the next step is to see if the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission decides next spring to take new applications for more casinos. The soonest construction could begin would be 2010 with opening in 2011. Gene Ver Steeg of Inwood is with the anti-casino group "Lyon County Citizens for Casino Truth."
Ver Steeg says the casino would hurt the local economy. Even though the casino would be required to give one-and-a-half million dollars back to non-profit groups and communities each year, Ver Steeg says the casino owners don’t like to say that would require the loss of 52-million dollars from gamblers to generate that one-and-a-half million.
Ver Steeg says he’s also worried about the social problems that come with gambling. Three-percent of gamblers become serious addicts, he says, with serious complications ranging from bankruptcy and divorce to neglected children and suicide. The election is scheduled for September 23rd.