Cedar Rapids casino backers make their big pitch - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids casino backers make their big pitch

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Thursday, the Cedar Rapids Development Group made its big presentation to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

The goal is to convince the commission there's a need for a casino in Cedar Rapids.

Members of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission told KWWL they were impressed by today's presentation.

That does not mean approval of this license is guaranteed, however. Thursday was just one of a series of important steps scheduled for the next few months.

During the presentation, Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett and investor Steve Gray called the casino the "capstone" of Cedar Rapids' recovery from the 2008 flood -- even showing video from 2008 compared to today.

Another presenter was a representative of TMG Consulting, the firm the development group hired to do market analysis to see if there's a need for a casino. According to them, Cedar Rapids is a "under-served market," which is why Gray and other investors are pushing so hard.

"We've worked hard on this project over the last several years and we've put together a great team and we've got a very compelling story," said Gray. "Hopefully the commission takes time to really digest all of the important information that we've made today."

According to TMG Consulting, a Cedar Rapids casino would impact nearby casinos' gross gaming revenues by as much as $9 million. That includes Tama and Riverside, with a lower impact to Waterloo and Dubuque.

The IRGC is also having studies done to see what the impact of a Cedar Rapids casino will be. That information will heavily influence the commission's decision.

Those studies will be completed by March.

Another big step for the Cedar Rapids Development Group is the site visit from the IRGC. That's scheduled for April 3, just two weeks before the commission announces its final decision on April 17.

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