Some officials in Linn County are reviving the idea of building a casino in Cedar Rapids, but the Administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says the idea is a long shot. There are already four casinos within 90 miles of Cedar Rapids and Jack Ketterer says that will likely impact whether Cedar Rapids gets one.
“Commission members indicated that would be one of the major things that they would look at in determining whether they wanted to grant additional licenses…they do not want casinos going out of business on their watch,” Ketterer said.
Officials in Wapello, Webster, Franklin, Lyon and Tama counties have already expressed interest in building a casino. Ketterer says their future could decide whether Cedar Rapids even has a chance.
“What the commission decides during this next six months, with respect to these applications that will be coming in, would be an indication of the likelihood of additional licenses being granted,” Ketterer said.
It’s uncertain whether government leaders in Linn County will continue pursuing the idea. An outside consulting firm has already determined a casino in Cedar Rapids would not generate sufficient revenue.
There are several obstacles to building a casino in Cedar Rapids. First, Linn County voters must approve it and in 2003, voters rejected the idea. The earliest they could go to the polls again to vote on the measure is 2011.