Nothing's changed: Iowa still has plenty of casinos – Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

Even after a new state casino license was denied for Linn County just three years ago, three separate casino projects in Cedar Rapids are now under consideration.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently set a calendar that will lead to another commission decision on the matter in November.

We’re left wondering – how many times does this have to be decided? In 2014, the commission’s decision stated there would be no more licenses issued for three years. Even so, we don’t believe the main issue in denying the license has changed at all.

In April 2014, on a 4-1 vote, the Iowa Racing and Gaming commission denied a new state casino license in Cedar Rapids, citing casino saturation. The commission determined a new license in Linn County would harm other casinos – especially the one in Riverside, south of Iowa City, as well as the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo.

Four studies all concluded significant “cannibalization” of casino profits would occur if a Cedar Rapids casino license were approved. Two of those studies were commissioned by the IRGC itself.

What has changed in less than three years time? We don’t believe the saturation factor has changed.

Regardless, the commission will be paying for two more studies this time around. The commission voted to hire White Sand Gaming of Atlantic City, N.J., which submitted a $93,000 proposal, and Marquette Advisors of Minneapolis, which submitted an $85,100 proposal, to conduct market studies. Those were the second- and third-most expensive plans of the six applications submitted, according to commission information.

Under consideration are proposals for the $40 million Wild Rose Cedar Rapids, and two options from the Cedar Rapids Development Group-Peninsula Pacific partnership: the $105 million Cedar Crossing

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