Although state gambling regulators set an October 1 deadline for counties that hope to win a license for a new casino, the decision on which — if any — get licenses will be made next year.
Greg Seyfer, an attorney from Cedar Rapids, is chairman of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
"It will be 2010 before decisions are made," Seyfer says. "(With) applications in by October 1, at that stage, I mean, we don’t know if we’re going to have one applicant, if we’re going to have five. We just need to see what we’re dealing with before we decide a timeline for proceeding."
Voters in five Iowa counties — Franklin, Lyon, Tama, Wapello and Webster — have approved gambling referendums, but Seyfer isn’t assuming all five will apply for a license.
"At this stage we don’t know who will apply," Seyfer says. "…We have no idea until we see the applications and discuss them."
It’s possible no new licenses will be granted.
"Definitely, I think the consensus is that we need to look at the impact on the existing casinos," Seyfer says.
One of the requirements for those who apply for a new gambling license is that they show they’ve got the financing lined up for their proposed casino. That could be difficult in the current environment, with Terrible’s in Osceola — one of the state’s existing casinos — going through bankruptcy.
"It’s in the back of our minds and it’s just a clear indication of the state of the economy and, I think, the issue of financing," Seyfer says. "I think people would like to proceed, but is it feasible? Is it realistic? And maybe now might not be the time to apply."
This past Thursday, the five-member Racing and Gaming Commission reelected Seyfer as its chairman. His current term on the board is set to expire at the end of next April.