Groups voice support and opposition for Cedar Rapids casino - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Groups voice support for Cedar Rapids casino, others still oppose it


A big boost for the proposed Cedar Rapids casino Wednesday afternoon.

The Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance both came out and voiced their support for the casino.

"A casino is one of the best corporate citizens you can have in a community," said Marilee Fowler, Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Two labor groups, Building Trades and Built by Pros, are also in favor.

Investors say a Linn County casino would bring more than 100 construction jobs and 360 casino jobs. They also say that having a casino would boost the local economy and support more jobs in the surrounding area.

"This is not going to be just a gaming destination where you can go game," said Steve Gray, Investor.  "We envision having other entertainment options as well as leveraging all the new and exciting stuff that's coming to Cedar Rapids."

The United Methodist Church, which is one of the largest protestant denominations in Iowa, is against gambling.

"More money goes into that than actually comes back to the local communities," said Harlan Gillespie, St. Paul's United Methodist Church. "The social issues that it causes hurts the fabric of the local communities as well."

Pastors fear adding yet another casino in Iowa would cause problems.

"The fact that we have gambling in the Dubuque area, and south of Iowa City would just compile, and also in the Tama community, would just compound the issues that we already see happening in our communities all the more," said Gillespie.

Casino investors are currently collecting more than 11,000 signatures.  Once they have them, they can ask Linn County voters whether they want a casino or not.

In 2003 Linn County voters said no to a riverboat casino.

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