Commission rejects Cedar Rapids casino

The gaming regulator from Iowa rejected the three proposals that seek a casino in Cedar Rapids.

US.- The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) rejected three proposals that would’ve allowed a casino in Cedar Rapids, the second largest city in the state. The five members of the regulator voted 3-2 against the initiatives during a meeting at the Diamond Jo Casino located in Dubuque.

The voting marks the second time that voters in Linn County approve a gambling referendum and the commission rejects it: the first time was in 2013, when voters were in favor of the state issuing a license for the proposed Cedar Crossing Casino, but the regulator voted 4-1 against it.

The proposals included two from Cedar Rapids Development Group, which submitted a similar proposal three years ago. One of the facilities would’ve been a US$196 million development on the west side of the Cedar River, whilst Cedar Crossing Central was supposed to be located downtown and would’ve totaled US$106 million. The third option was from Wild Rose Entertainment, which called for a US$42 million boutique casino next to the Skogman building. As the proposals were rejected without prejudice, all parties can present them to the commission again.

“Each one has its own merit,” Commissioner Dolores Metz said, before commenting that she would vote in favor of any of the three proposals if they were voted individually. She was the only one to vote in favor of the casino in 2014.

Speaking to local media, Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett said that the decision is a big disappointment for the community: “A lot of money and a lot time was spent on the preparation of these applications only to have the same result [as 2014]. They probably just should have told us at the beginning, ‘Hey guys, don’t bother because nothing has changed.’ It is a big letdown for us.”

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