Voters in Lyon County Iowa Tuesday approved the first step in the possible development of a major casino by giving 62% support to a referendum to allow gambling. The vote could open the way for the construction of a 90-million dollar casino and resort about eight miles east of Sioux Falls.
Lyon County Development Director, Glenn Anderson, says the state Racing and Gaming Commission is conducting a gambling study, and then will decide if the state can support any new casinos. Anderson says the commission may not even allow a gambling license for the county. He says the study will be completed in five to six months and then they have to apply for a license.
Anderson says in the meantime they hope people think Lyon County would be a good place for the casino. Anderson says he thinks the job issue was critical in the getting gambling referendum approved. Anderson says they have a high rate of exporting people to jobs to Sioux County, Worthington, Minnesota and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He says those people are looking for a job where they could stay in Lyon County and make the same money, or there are those who might need a part-time job.
Anderson says while the issue was divisive, the long time waiting to learn about a gambling license may help the healing. Anderson says it would be 2010 at the earliest before the license could be approved and construction starts on the casino, so he thinks "people may readjust their lives and wrap their mind around it." Voter turnout was about seventy percent, the highest turnout ever in Lyon County for a county-wide special election.