The developer and nonprofit group that hope to gain a license for a new casino in Greene County announced an operating agreement today they call unique. Iowa law requires casinos to contribute a minimum of three-percent of its adjusted gaming revenue to nonprofit groups.
Wild Rose Entertainment is the developer, and president Tom Timmons says their agreement provides enough money to allow the nonprofit to give some money to surrounding counties. “We offered Greene County four-point-one (percent) in the beginning and then as the time went by we formed this county consortium — and it’s the contiguous counties to Greene County — and we increased the contribution to five percent,” Timmons says.
He says this is the first time he knows of that a nonprofit agreement has plans to share the money with other counties. Timmons says it makes the effort more regional.
“Those surrounding counties then are going to give their support to Greene County in going forward with the efforts and trying to obtain the license from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission,” Timmons explains.
Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation is the nonprofit that will work with Wild Rose. “Based on the population it’s very similar to our Emmetsburg casino…and so we’re using Emmetsburg as a model and right now our revenues that we’re projection are somewhere around the 30-million dollar number — so simple math will tell you the five percent is somewhere around one-and-a-half million dollars,” Timmons says.
The operating agreement is just part of the plan for obtaining a new license. Wild Rose is proposing a 40-million dollar investment in the casino resort that will feature restaurants, a conference center and a hotel. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has a survey underway to determine if the gambling market in the state can support more casinos.
Timmons believes the size of the Greene County facility will make it an option state regulators approve. “And it’s not really going to impact any existing facilities that we’re aware of, so I think that’s what the study will come back and show,” Timmons says. “Now how much it will show in revenues, we’ll wait and see if their study is the same as ours. I think it’s a very viable project and I hope the commission thinks that as well.”
The Racing and Gaming Commission has set January sixth as the deadline for Greene County to submit its application for the casino license.