Residents of Warren County are voting today on whether to allow gambling in the county. Supporters of the gambling referendum have put together a proposal for a casino on vacant land near Highway five in the northwest corner of the county.
Wild Rose Entertainment of West Des Moines, which already operates casinos in Emmetsburg and Clinton, has plans to spend 145-million-dollars on the project that would include a hotel, events center and bowling alley. Supporters says 80-percent of Warren County residents head north to work in Polk and other counties, and the casino complex would create 600 new jobs to keep workers — and millions of dollars — from flowing out every day.
Opponents say a casino would hurt local businesses by taking away customers and lead to problems resulting from gambling addictions. Passage of the referendum on gambling is no guarantee the casino would be built. The vote comes just two months after Linn County approved a gambling referendum, with developers hoping to build a new casino along the Cedar River in downtown.
The chair of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has said they will study all casino proposals to determine their impact on the existing 18 state licensed casinos before making any decision on awarding a new gambling license.