CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Residents have voted to allow gambling facilities in Linn County.
In a 55 percent vote, Linn County residents voted to allow gambling facilities in the county. The vote is only for allowing facilities, it does not mean a casino will be built. Approval of a specific facility has more requirements, such as an application and approval by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
Residents first voted to allow gambling back in 2013 but state law says gambling measures must be voted on and approved twice, eight years apart.
Since 2013, many new decisions have been made about gambling in the state. Linn County voters passed a gaming referendum in 2013, but the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission rejected four state license requests in 2013. However, there are now new members on the commission. The state of Iowa has also legalized sports betting in 2019.
“Voting yes on this referendum is about Linn County’s future,” Drew Skogman, a member of Cedar Rapids Development Group said. “Linn County is the largest county in Iowa without a gaming facility, and it’s time for us to receive the same economic stimulus that casinos bring to other counties in the state.”
Several hundred jobs in constructing a casino, if approved, would add hundreds of jobs. Keeping the casino operational would include 700 new jobs in the area, Jonathan Swain, the president of a company that works with CRDG told KWWL.
Iowa requires casinos to share a percentage of their revenue to local charities and community projects. The Linn County Gaming Association will serve as a nonprofit organization that facilitates revenue to other organizations.
"On average, a county that has a casino is able to allocate $6.3 million to their non-profits and for those counties, much like Linn County that do not have a casino, that take is about $140,000 on average," president of the LCGA, Anne Parmley previously told KWWL.
If a casino is approved for the county, current Mayor Brad Hart previously told KWWL the city of Cedar Rapids does not get to choose the location.