The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has selected two companies to conduct statewide market studies. Commission administrator, Brian Ohorilko, says the studies have two goals. “To determine if there are any underserved or underperforming markets in Iowa, as well as taking a look at the counties that had passed gambling referendums,” Ohorilko says.

The commission selected Union Gaming of Las Vegas, Nevada and GVA Marquette of Minneapolis, Minnesota for the market studies which will cost $160,000. He says the analysis will be completed February 20th and be presented at the commission meeting on March 6th.

Linn County passed a referendum to allow gambling in March and Greene County passed one in August. Ohorilko says the market studies will be one factor in deciding the fate of new licenses for those counties. “One of the criteria that the commission uses is to determine whether or not here is any impact on existing Iowa properties — if there is new revenue brought to the state,” according to Ohorilko. “So that’s one piece — it’s not the only piece — but those market studies will certainly help the commission.”

The commission also set a timeline for action on the Linn and Greene County licenses during their meeting Thursday in Dubuque. Ohorilko says the commission will begin analyzing the Linn County proposal for a casino in Cedar Rapids at the start of the year. “The commission at the January 9th regularly scheduled meeting will hear from the Cedar Rapids group — that will be the time when the group will present their financing and then just overall scope of the project,” Ohorilko explains.

The commission will visit the proposed site for the Cedar Rapids casino in a special meeting on April 3rd. They will make a decision on possibly awarding a license to Cedar Rapids at their regular meeting April 17th in Council Bluffs.

The commission set January 6th as the deadline for proposals for the Greene County casino.