Cedar Rapids mayor, city still fighting for casino - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids mayor, city still fighting for casino

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    It's a no. A majority of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission members rejected the license for a proposed casino in Linn County during their board meeting Thursday morning just after 11 a.m. in Council Bluffs.More >>
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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Despite the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voting no to a Linn County Casino last month, many Cedar Rapids residents still want to see a casino.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett says the city isn't giving up a fight. Residents have suggested several ways for the city to still get the casino.

While the city could appeal the IRGC's decision in court, that would be costly and likely take years.

Another option would be to partner with Meskwaki and build a casino that wouldn't need IRGC approval. Corbett says this is a possibility but could also take a long time.

The city could also work with the legislature to get a license, though Corbett admits this has never been done in the past. However, IRGC Chairman Jeff Lamberti did say last month that if the legislature wanted to change the way the state issues gaming licenses, legislators could.

Should a new governor be elected this fall, Corbett says he hopes that governor would be more supportive of the Cedar Rapids project and possibly appoint commissioners to the IRGC that would be more in favor of the project. The city could then re-apply.

Of course, there's still the market studies which showed a Linn County casino would significantly impact nearby casinos, taking away millions.

That's where the final idea comes in. Corbett says the city could approach the IRGC with a new product, perhaps a "smoke-free" casino. Corbett believes that offering this kind of facility would make the market studies a "moot point."

The city did not apply for the Linn County license, but was supportive of the project and owns much of the land where the proposed casino would go.

"For the short term, we'd like to hold on to the property and keep it reserved for the casino as we sort out the various options of which one we'd want to put all of our effort together," said Corbett.

Corbett says Cedar Rapids casino supporters will be watching closely next month to see if the IRGC issues a Greene County gaming license. That may influence the decision to re-apply for a Linn County license.

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