Report due in May looks promising for new casinos - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Report due in May looks promising for new casinos

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OSCEOLA (KWWL) - Iowa casino regulators are exploring the possiblity of new gaming facilities.  Thursday the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission heard from two groups charged with finding out if Iowa can sustain more casinos and whether those new casinos might cannibalize existing ones.

Between flat revenues and the economic downturns, you might think now is not the time to expand, but developers say they are encouraged by the update given today.

The commision heard that Iowa's 17 state licensed casinos are fairing well above the national average and they should think about the long-term effects of any new casino.
Five areas are being studied to access the impact of new casinos.

It includes Franklin County which lost out on the last round of new licenses in 2005, and Tama which wants to build a new casino near downtown.

Tama developer John Pavone said, "We do understand the cannabilization effect on Waterloo, but lets face it we're 46 miles from the largest underserved market in the state of Iowa so we think between that and the abilitiy to work with the tribe and create that greater critical mass as has been in Council Bluffs speaks volumes for Tama."

Commissioners will receive a full report in May and might make a decision whether to accept applications for possible licenses in June.

In the past, Tama and Franklin Counties, Ottumwa, Fort Dodge and Newton have expressed interest in a license with an outside bid possible from Lyon County in northwest Iowa.

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