The state’s top gambling regulator says Iowa’s casino industry appears on track to pay the State of Iowa about $320 million in taxes during the current state fiscal year.
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko says that’s roughly equal to what the state-licensed casinos and race tracks collected in state taxes during the previous 12-month period.
“That is really the story of the Iowa gaming dollar the past handful of years, ” Ohorilko says, “very predictable, very stable — a very mature market.”
Upgrades at the state-licensed casino in Riverside were completed last year and Ohorilko says that casino may see a slight increase in its revenue this year.
“The I-74 bridge in eastern Iowa has impacted the Bettendorf casino. As that continues to be completed, we may see a bump in that market,” Ohorilko says.
In western Iowa, a new Native American casino has opened in Carter Lake — potential competition for the three state-licensed casinos in Council Bluffs.
“It’s really hard to speculate any impact in that area,” Ohorilko says.
Ohorilko made his comments during a recent budget hearing in the governor’s office. He told the governor regulators are monitoring the casino in Marquette.
“They’re having some trouble servicing some of their debt. It is not a profitability issue with the Iowa casino,” Ohorilko said. “It is a corporate issue and so I do not expect any interruption in employment or the facility being open, we just may see different owners, which could be a good thing.”
Isle of Capri Casinos announced in October of 2016 that was selling the Marquette casino to a holding company based in Illinois for $40 million. Iowa gaming regulators approved the sale in March of 2017.