State regulators heard pitches from six companies Tuesday to do a market survey of the gambling industry and a review of proposals for a casino in Cedar Rapids.
Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator, Brian Ohorilko says they will review the plans and likely select a firm at next month’s meeting.
He says they could select one or more of the companies as they have selected more than one company in the past to get a read on the market. There are three casino proposals for Cedar Rapids and Ohorilko says they are in the process of setting up times to hear presentations on each one.
“I think those will be announced in April,”Ohorilko says, “there still some dates and locations being worked out with respect to meetings dates for the next fiscal year. But I anticipate that the decision will be made in April as to what the process will look like, with the final decision coming late fall.”
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to deny a gambling license for a Cedar Rapids casino back in 2014 in part because of concerns about the impact on existing casinos. Ohorilko isn’t sure if a new gambling market study will impact any decision on the latest attempt to bring a casino to the city.
“It’s hard to say, it’s up to each of the individual commission members. There are a number of criteria that play into whether or not a decision to approve or deny a gambling license should occur,” he says. The studies have become commonplace as the IRGC is faced with the decision on adding new casinos to the mix.
“Those market studies have played a more significant impact the past few instances where applications have been considered,” Ohorilko says, “but it truly is up to the individual commission members to determine what weight they would play. Not only on that factor — but other factors.” The commission approved a casino for Greene County in June of 2014 after denying the license to Cedar Rapids. Studies at the time showed the Greene County casino would have the least impact on the other casinos.
The firms include several which have done previous studies of Iowa’s gambling industry. All have headquarters out of state, except for one from Cedar Rapids.