IRGC hears from public on possible Cedar Rapids casino - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

IRGC hears from public on possible Cedar Rapids casino

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Three very different casino proposals are on the table in downtown Cedar Rapids. 

They include Cedar Crossing on the River, Cedar Crossing Central and Wild Rose. 

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) heard from the public today on the idea of putting a casino in the city.

Some don't want a casino in Linn County at all including several leaders from other casinos in the state. 

"Should another casino arrive within our section of Iowa, expect existing casinos to re-evaluate their priorities," says Jon Papakee, with Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel. 

Many other casino leaders voiced their concerns about how putting one in Cedar Rapids would impact them. 

"Taking these economic resources from the Cedar Valley, Riverside, Tama, Quad Cities and Dubuque and giving 70% of it to Linn County seems unreasonable and excessive," says Todd Connelly, with the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo. 

Meanwhile some are excited about the possibility of a casino closer to home. 

"We don't go visit Riverside, I think I've been there once and that was for a Rick Springfield concert maybe over ten years ago so and Waterloo? no I'm not going to drive up there either," says Tami Culver, an investor in Cedar Crossing. 

Another casino supporter, Barbara Hames-Bryant who is on the Board of Cedar River Alliance for Gaming, says things have changed since Cedar Rapids was denied a casino license in 2014. 

"Cedar Rapids has 2,200 hotel rooms with an 85% occupancy Monday-Thursday. Cedar Rapids also gets another 2,500 medical visitors per week. Honestly what's changed in three years? Probably that has," she says. 

Solid arguments made from both sides will leave a tough decision ahead for the commission. 
The IRGC is expected to decide in November whether they will grant Cedar Rapids a casino license. 

The city was denied on in 2014 because studies at the time showed it could hurt other area casinos. 

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