Supporters of proposed new casinos in the state are facing an uphill battle following a presentation before the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission this morning in Altoona. Consultants hired by the commission summarized reports released last week, which both show Iowa’s casino gambling market is nearly saturated.
Brent Wittenberg is with Marquette Advisors in Minneapolis. “We found the addition of casinos in Iowa — be it in Linn, Greene, or Webster Counties — are likely to result in cannibalization activity. In fact, cannibalization is expected to be the primary source of revenue at such facilities,” Wittenberg said.
The Marquette report estimates a proposed casino in downtown Cedar Rapids would collect $81 million in 2017. But, Wittenberg said 73-percent of that revenue would be generated by taking away business from surrounding casinos. The report claims the nearby Riverside Casino would see its gambling revenue plunge by $25 million.
A proposed casino in Jefferson, in Greene County, would generate about $28 million annually in gambling revenue. “Seventy-nine-percent of that would come in the form of cannibalization, with only 21-percent coming from new incremental gaming revenue to the State of Iowa,” Wittenberg said.
State gambling regulators are scheduled to visit the site of the proposed casino in Cedar Rapids on April 3rd and the proposed facility in Jefferson on May 29th.