The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission plans to do another market survey on the gambling conditions in the state.
Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko says the new study is prompted by the plans of a Cedar Rapids group to file an application for a new casino license.
“There was a motion made to direct staff to initiate an RFP (Request For Proposal) process so that a vendor or vendors would be selected to conduct a statewide market analysis,” Ohorilko says.
The Racing and Gaming Commission voted 4-1 in April of 2014 to deny a license for a proposed $164 million casino project in Cedar Rapids after approving a gambling license for a casino in Jefferson County. Ohorilko says the last market study was done prior to that decision.
“It was a statewide market study to determine if there were any underserved or overserved markets in the state,” Ohorilko says. “In addition to that, The study called for a target analysis for two particular counties — and those were the counties were referendums had passed at that point in time and there were applications in — and that was Linn County and Jefferson County.” Ohorilko says a new study would be key for the commission to decide if they would be willing to approve a new request for a license in Cedar Rapids.
“There’s a whole host of criteria that goes into determining whether or not an application for a license should be grants. A couple of those factors are related to market impact: Is there new money coming into the area, was it just a shift of revenue, how much it would impact other licensees,” Ohorilko explains.
Wild Rose Casinos and Resorts, which already operates three casinos in the state, is proposing what it calls a “boutique” casino that would be smaller than traditional casinos and located in the downtown area of Cedar Rapids. They also say a smaller casino would have less an impact on existing casinos.
The developers say they should have a plan ready to request a license in January. Ohorilko says the new statewide study would be started in mid-February. “The way this would work with applications being due on February 13th, by the time the vendors are selected to do a market analysis, they’ll be able to look at the scope of any potential applications,” according to Ohorilko. “If it’s a small project or a different type of project, that information will be known and the vendors be able to consider that when doing their market analysis.”
Wild Rose operates casinos in Emmettsburg and Clinton along with the Greene County casino in Jefferson.