A consultant’s report finds most income for a proposed casino in Lyon County, Iowa, would come from residents of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, about six miles away. The report says the casino would make about $55-million a year, draw $18-million from South Dakota’s video lottery and contribute about $14-million in taxes to Iowa.
Jeff Gallagher, of Larchwood, heads the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation and says people in South Dakota shouldn’t overreact to the report. "That’s really a misleading thing," Gallagher says. "Yeah, they’re predicting a 55-million dollar income to the casino but that money’s going to be spent on wages and products and all kinds of things, most of which are going to come out of South Dakota, eventually."
In a Radio Iowa story on Monday, South Dakota developers said they’d consider building a casino on their side of the border to "counter" whatever might be built in Iowa. Gallagher says he sees the proposed casino as economic development for the entire region, not just for northwest Iowa.
"Everybody’s gotta’ do what’s in their own best interest," Gallagher says. "I don’t know exactly what they can do, I mean, we don’t throw up a road block every time they build a new store in Sioux Falls and say ‘We’re not going to go shop there.’" Gallagher says the Iowa casino promoters anticipate many of the benefits will flow to the South Dakota side of the border.
Gallagher says: "I expect that of the 400 to 500 people that work there, 300 to 400 are going to live in Sioux Falls, so they’re going to buy their groceries, they’re going to buy their clothes, they’re going to buy everything. All the money that they earn from that casino, they’re going to spend in Sioux Falls. That’s what we expect."
Earlier this month, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission said it would accept applications for new casinos. The Lyon County group will take its formal application to the panel in October.