Cedar Rapids lays out plan for new casino to state regulators

(Radio Iowa) – Cedar Rapids mayor, Ron Corbett, led the delegation as supporters of a new casino in the city spoke to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission today.  Corbett called Cedar Rapids the state’s come-back city following devastating floods of 2008 and told the commissioners “we have it all together in Cedar Rapids”.

The leader of the investors group that hopes to build the casino, Steve Gray, said care is being taken to minimize the negative effect on existing casinos. “You know, they’re going to look a lot to the science of what the math says — in terms of the impact to the surrounding markets,the net incremental benefit to the state. And they will also at the overall economic impact on Cedar Rapids and Linn County,” Gray says. “So all of those important statistics and metrics are important in their deliberation.”

Gray says the amount of support from the community is also a key. “I think it’s also important to convey that we’re a group of Cedar Rapidians, Linn County residents, that really, really want and need this for our community,” Gray explains.

Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator Brian Ohorilko says the financial information presented appears to be in order. “They have demonstrated that should they be selected for a license that they could follow through — that’s always an important piece,” according to Ohorilko. “And all of the other amenities associated with the project would be in line with what typically comes with any casino proposal.”

The Racing and Gaming Commission will hear a report from the DCI on the backgrounds of the casino developers at its March meeting in Altoona. Ohorilko says the two companies doing  studies for the commission on the market for new casinos will also give reports at that meeting. “Those vendor presentations outlining the market impact of the surrounding communities — those are certainly important. There will be a special meeting on April third where the commission will go to Cedar Rapids, visit the site, and hear form the public that’s not associated with the application and get some input,” Ohorilko says.

The commission would then make a decision on the Cedar Rapids license at its regular meeting April 17th in Council Bluffs. The casino developers say if Cedar Rapids is awarded a gambling license, they would break ground immediately and have casino operating in July of 2015.