Black Hawk County Gaming Association opposes new casino - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Black Hawk County Gaming Association opposes new casino

WATERLOO (KWWL) - Area casinos are some of the biggest opponents to the proposed new casino in Cedar Rapids. The Black Hawk County Gaming Association worries the competition would fill investors' pockets rather than pump funding into local communities.

Currently, the Black Hawk County Gaming Association's funding comes from the Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo. It receives 5.75 percent of the casino's revenue each week, amounting to roughly $100,000 every week.

Board member Tim Hurley said if that slice of revenue were to shrink, either from casino competition or a drop in business at the Isle, several projects could be impacted. Some realms in which the association helps fun projects are:
  • Capital improvements
  • Charitable programs
  • Operating requests
  • Projects providing tax relief for cities and counties
  • Public works projects
Hurley said initiatives to revitalize cities could feel a pinch as well.

"Downtown redevelopment projects with Main Street, or something up at UNI like the new scoreboard, those would be very hard to do."

He said the revenue could experience a cut back while the need in the Cedar Valley remains unchanged.

The Black Hawk County Gaming Association serves seven counties: Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy and Tama counties. Hurley said 90 percent of the funding, however, goes toward helping projects in Black Hawk County, as that's the association's primary focus. Therefore, he said applications coming from the other six counties would take hits before those in Black Hawk.

Iowa currently has 18 state-licensed casinos and three on Native American territory. While opponents of a Linn County casino say a 22nd venue in the state would be over-saturation, proponents say a new casino would attract new gamblers to the area.
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