Iowa Casinos Caution Against Additional Cedar Rapids Casinos

Existing Iowa casino operators have warned the state’s gambling commission about awarding new gaming licenses for the city of Cedar Rapids. There are currently three new casino proposals on the table for Cedar Rapids, which is Iowa’s second largest city. The current gaming operators are urging the Racing and Gaming Commission to reject these proposals. They are claiming the new casinos will do damage to the industry.

Cedar Rapids casino expansion plan opposed by existing casinos

Three Casino Proposals for Cedar Rapids in Iowa

Out of the three proposals, the least favorite proposal would see a casino built on the banks of the Cedar River. This plan has been put forward by Peninsula Pacific and Cedar Rapids Development. It will see a $165 – $187 million property built. However, this proposal has been described as nearly identical to one that was dismissed by the Iowa Gaming Commission back in 2014. That proposal was rejected as it was determined to be detrimental to the casino industry in Eastern Iowa, cannibalizing business from existing gambling establishments.

The same development group has also proposed a smaller casino. This one will cost between $105 – $118 million, in case the first proposition is rejected. The third and final casino proposal that is currently being evaluated is from Wild Rose Entertainment. This group is proposing a much smaller ‘boutique’ casino, which will cost around $55 million.

Claims the Casino Market is Full

The new casino proposals have been met with opposition from the existing casino operators. They claim that the market is full. The CEO of Riverside Casino and Resort said that the size of the new casino wouldn’t matter. Even the smallest proposed casino would see their casino lose around $20 million. This equates to around 30% of their revenue. This would lead to massive job losses, and the market in Cedar Rapids hasn’t changed since the last time a new casino was rejected.

The groups that are proposing the new casinos have a different take on the matter. They are suggesting that the fact the market hasn’t changed is part of the issue and that it has become stagnant in Cedar Rapids. They’re arguing that a new casino will bring new visitors and lead to long-term growth.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will vote on the issue in mid-November. It will be quite interesting to see what they decide.