Linn County investors think newly announced operator will be a h - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Linn County investors think newly announced operator will be a help in getting gaming license

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

On Sunday, investors took another step forward towards building a casino in Cedar Rapids.

Investors have chosen newly-established JNB Gaming, LLC, as the casino operator and partner.

"We had three criteria," said Steve Gray, a Linn County casino investor. "We wanted a great operator; we wanted somebody that was favorably viewed by the commission; and that also would invest with our local investors, and they more than satisfied all three of those criteria."

Leaders of JNB Gaming used to run Peninsula Gaming, LLC, which was bought out in November.

Until then, the company operated five casinos in three states, including the Diamond Jo casinos in Dubuque and Northwood.

"They are very well known in Iowa and very well respected operators," said Gray.

"We believe that this opportunity is consistent with what we would look for in a new casino development -- one which is seeded in community partnership," said JNB Gaming partner Brent Stevens.

Linn County casino backers believe the prior experience will help them when they turn in an application for a state gaming license to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on Sept. 3.

"The fact that they were established Iowa operators and favorably viewed by the commission we think will be helpful in our application," said Gray, 

The Cedar Rapids Development Group has already purchased some properties despite not having a state license. Investors are in negotiations to purchase more land along 1st Avenue between 2nd and 3rd streets SW.

Linn County voters supported a plan to build a casino during a special election in March. The casino would be a  $110 million investment.

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