It's a NO: IRGC rejects Cedar Rapids casino - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

It's a NO: IRGC rejects Cedar Rapids casino

Posted: Updated:
Cedar Crossing Casino rendering Cedar Crossing Casino rendering
Cedar Crossing rendering Cedar Crossing rendering
  • Related StoriesMore>>

  • Cedar Rapids casino supporters react to IRGC decision

    Cedar Rapids casino supporters react to IRGC decision

    Thursday, April 17 2014 4:48 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:48:27 GMT
    The proposed Cedar Crossing CasinoThe proposed Cedar Crossing Casino
    They worked for more than a year and a half, raised and spent more than $7 million from investors, convinced voters and put together plans for an elaborate casino that would showcase a part of Cedar Rapids previously lost to floodwaters and forgotten. Their dream was taken away quickly on Thursday morning.More >>
    They worked for more than a year and a half, raised and spent more than $7 million from investors, convinced voters and put together plans for an elaborate casino that would showcase a part of Cedar Rapids previously lost to floodwaters and forgotten. Their dream was taken away quickly on Thursday morning.More >>
  • Casino supporters and opponents prepare for license decision

    Casino supporters and opponents prepare for license decision

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:55:06 GMT
    Cedar Crossing investors announced their plans a year and a half ago and ever since there's been one big sticking point: the impact a Cedar Rapids casino could have on the existing market. That one factor will heavily influence the commission Thursday.More >>
    Cedar Crossing investors announced their plans a year and a half ago and ever since there's been one big sticking point: the impact a Cedar Rapids casino could have on the existing market. That one factor will heavily influence the commission Thursday.More >>
  • Campaign team looks to bring casino to Linn County ballot

    Campaign team looks to bring casino to Linn County ballot

    An investment group led by businessman Steve Gray announced its plans to bring a privately-funded $80 million entertainment venue and casino to Linn County in early October. More >>
    An investment group led by businessman Steve Gray announced its plans to bring a privately-funded $80 million entertainment venue and casino to Linn County in early October.

    Supporters say the facility would be an economic boost for an area now in rebuilding mode after 2008's flood.
    More >>
  • Linn County casino license would cap off three years of work

    Linn County casino license would cap off three years of work

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:45 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:45:10 GMT
    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.More >>
    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.More >>
COUNCIL BLUFFS (KWWL) - It's a no.

Four out of the five members of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission rejected the license for a proposed casino in Linn County during their board meeting Thursday morning just after 11 a.m. in Council Bluffs.

It means the Cedar Rapids Development Group will not break ground as planned on the Cedar Crossing Casino.

Thursday's decision comes after two separate studies showed a new casino would directly impact neighboring casinos in Waterloo, Riverside, Tama and Dubuque.

Michelle Corless will have live reports from Council Bluffs throughout the day on KWWL.

BACKSTORY:

In October 2012, Steve Gray -- now chairman of the Cedar Rapids Development Group -- first got the idea to build the Cedar Crossing Casino.

He and other investors set out to get voter support in November of 2012, gathering 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 of 2013, one campaign issue was settled -- a potential location for Cedar Crossing on the west side of the Cedar River near downtown.

On March 5, 2013, 61 percent of voters said "yes" to a casino in Linn County. 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 of 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 proposed casino, bringing in executives who had previous experience working with the IRGC, since the group previously helped manage the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque.

In January, investors made their pitch to the commission.

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

The final chance to sell the IRGC on the idea came two weeks ago, as commissioners visited Cedar Rapids to see where the casino would go. They heard from dozens of supporters, but also many opponents, at a public hearing that lasted for several hours -- making it clear that both sides were passionate about the issue.

The west side of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids continues to recover from the floods of 2008. A casino here would put now-empty plots of land back on the property tax rolls, and city leaders believe it would inspire more to build nearby.

"It's going to be very important from a jobs standpoint, construction jobs from the casino itself, the ongoing jobs, and really what it's going to do is it's going to help redevelop the whole west side," said Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett.

Money from the casino would go to the area's nonprofits, many of which are seeing a higher need but getting less funding.

"This is a grand opportunity for us now to have much more at our ability to see and meet the needs of the people of our area," said Linda Seger with the Linn County Gaming Association.

But the millions of dollars the casino would bring in would come in large part at the expense of others.

Riverside Casino would have less money to give to its community. Its CEO says as many as 300 of the resort's 750 employees could lose their jobs.

"It would be a step backwards, and it would be very difficult for us to maintain this beautiful facility and turn us into more of a grind operation," said Dan Kehl, Riverside Casino CEO.

Statewide studies show Riverside alone could lose as much as 42 percent of its revenue to Cedar Crossing.

"The commission has our facts," Kehl said. "The studies agree with our facts, and if they follow precedent, we're hopeful that they'll turn it down."

But in Cedar Rapids, leaders are hoping the commission will say yes. Developers are set to buy several plots of city-owned land.

So if the commission says no, Corbett said, "I guess we're back to square one."

Amie Steffeneicher and Adam Amdor contributed to this report.

----------------------------

Cedar Crossing Casino "fact sheet" (distributed by developers)

Cedar Crossing Casino is designed to become an anchor attraction for the area that’s been slowest to find reinvestment after the floods of 2008 -- Kingston Village. The proposed development’s investment is significant by any standard. Cedar Crossing Casino is an Urban Casino concept, which means the casino will not be a destination; rather, it will be part of the destination to attract new visitors. Cedar Crossing Casino will provide entertainment 365 days each year. Within walking distance of the new Double Tree by Hilton and within close driving proximity to 3,000 hotel and motel rooms, Cedar Crossing Casino will help attract more group and convention travel to Cedar Rapids. What’s even more exciting is the fact that the casino development could not come at a better time for Linn County.

Here is a look at Cedar Crossing Casino, by the numbers.

384,000 number of people living within 25 miles of the proposed Cedar Crossing Casino site

Economic Output and Casino Taxes, Fees and Distributions

$78.6 million estimated total one year economic output arising from the development of Cedar Crossing Casino. Including an estimated $19.6 million of purchases of goods and services by the casino from other local businesses, $13.6 million in annual payroll and benefits, jobs created by casino and team members’ purchases, and more.

$97.7 million impact Cedar Crossing Casino could have on gaming revenue taxes, fees and other non-profit-related revenues in Iowa during the first five years of operation including $18.8 million to Cedar Crossing Casino’s non-profit partner, the Linn County Gaming Association the City of Cedar Rapids.

Local Investors to Develop Local Casino

173 written Indications of Interest to Cedar Rapids Development Group from Members and other potential investors were submitted with Cedar Crossing Casino’s application to Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Facility

840 Slot Machines

30 Table Games

3 Restaurants; Kingston Market Buffet, Sinclair’s Steak House, Pickle Works Delicatessen

400 person capacity- City Lights, banquet and meeting room

1,200 parking spaces

Jobs

125 Construction Jobs

About 470 new jobs

$13.6 million total annual payroll and benefits team members will earn at the casino

Support

61.23% approved Linn County Casino (37,034 voters)

Benefit to the State

The bottom line adds up to a considerable windfall to the State; new gaming revenue falls somewhere between $26 million and $61 million in net gaming revenue annually.

The thoughtful development would quickly become the catalyst for more than $500 million in additional private investment. The proposed location for the development has been off of the tax rolls since 2008. So, while the development’s economic output is impressive, it represents only the tip of the iceberg for what Cedar Rapids and the State of Iowa can expect from this exciting new development.

  • NEWSNEWSMore>>

  • Holder: 'Change is coming' after police shooting

    Holder: 'Change is coming' after police shooting

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:33 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:33:20 GMT
    Police and protesters in Ferguson were finally able to share the streets again at night, putting aside for at least a few hours some of the hostility that had filled those hours with tear gas and smoke.More >>
    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is meeting with college students as part of his trip to Missouri stemming from a white police officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old.More >>
  • Obama: US won't stop confronting Islamic State

    Obama: US won't stop confronting Islamic State

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:24 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:24:41 GMT
    Militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley and are threatening to kill another hostage in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq.More >>
    The United States stood firm Wednesday in its fight against Islamic State militants who beheaded a U.S. journalist in Iraq, pledging to continue attacking the group despite its threats to kill another American hostage....More >>
  • Former UNI Panther Ali Farokhmanesh headed to Nebraska

    Former UNI Panther Ali Farokhmanesh headed to Nebraska

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:21 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:21:44 GMT
    Former UNI Panther basketball player Ali Farokhmanesh is headed back to the Midwest, but this time in red.More >>
    Former UNI Panther basketball player Ali Farokhmanesh is headed back to the Midwest, but this time in red.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KWWL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.