Linn County casino license would cap off three years of work - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Linn County casino license would cap off three years of work

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Cedar Crossing investors say they began working on this project three years ago, long before they publicly announced their plans and Thursday we find out if the big gamble was worth it.

In October 2012, we first introduced you to Steve Gray, now chairman of the Cedar Rapids Development Group which wants to build the Cedar Crossing casino.

He and other investors set out to get voter support and gathered more than 16,000 signatures, several thousand more than they needed to get an election date. The campaign saw big spending by supporters and opponents, who hit the streets to gain voters. In February 2013, one campaign issue was settled, when we learned a potential location, on the west side of the cedar river, near downtown.

March 5, 2013 came and some 61 percent of voters said yes, they'd like to see a casino in Cedar Rapids but the battle was only halfway over. Investors had convinced voters, but then began the process of convincing the |Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

A big decision came in June 2013 when the commission said it would consider the Linn County application, ending a three year moratorium on new casino licenses.

In July, developers picked JNB Gaming to manage the casino, bringing executives who had previous experience working with the IRGC since the group previously helped manage the Diamond Jo casino in Dubuque.

Fast forward to this year.

In January, investors made their pitch to the commission.

Then came a big blow throughout February and March,as not one, but two statewide studies found a Cedar Rapids casino would heavily cannibalize the existing market.

The final chance to sell the commission came two weeks ago, as commissioners visited Cedar Rapids to see where the casino would go and heard from dozens of supporters but also many opponents at a public hearing that lasted several hours, making it clear that both sides are passionate.

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