Cedar Rapids to Consider Three New Gaming Venues

by Kyle Miller

City Council in Cedar Rapids to consider three casino proposals.

Gaming is on the mind of many states across the US as local legislators discuss plans to offer casino gaming, daily fantasy sports, the lottery and more. Many categories of gaming are being considered as lawmakers see the options as a way to bring in revenues to their state as well as provide consumer protections for citizens. The Cedar Rapids area of Iowa is preparing to discuss casino gaming proposals as three new options are currently under consideration by the city council.

Three Casinos Proposed

Cedar Rapids City CouncilThe city council of Cedar Rapids will be considering the casino proposals this week with two plans featuring one new plan that would be known as the Cedar Crossing Central. The plan would see a parking facility for the Five Seasons Ramp replaced and would work together with a plan known as Cedar Crossing on the River for casino gaming in the area.

In 2014, the same proposal was reportedly shot down after an investigation took place that showed a gambling area in a neighboring county would have a negative effect on the gaming venue, creating too much competition. Now each of the proposal have been connected to the Cedar Rapids Development Group.

New casino plans include an exclusive casino with a $40 million price tag, presented by the Wild Rose Entertainment group. This third proposal was part of a retail development plan. The company already owns and operates casinos in Iowa, one in Jefferson, Clinton and in Emmetsburg. The company is currently working expanding their reach and want to build a new casino that would be 25,000 square feet in size and have 20 gaming tables along with as many as 600 to 700 slot machines.

City Council

Each of the developers want their plans to be approved by the City Council. The first investors with projects focused on the Cedar Rapids Development Group will have to see their memorandums of understanding approved by the counsel before they would be able to move forward.

The Cedar Crossing on the river development would create a development on city-owned land and would cost around $165 million. Cedar Rapids and Linn County would receive $9 million in the deal and $17 million would be provide for local charities.

Cedar Crossing Central is the second plan which would see the redevelopment of the parking facility at the Five Seasons Ramp. This would cost around $105 million and would provide the local municipalities with $4.5 million. Charites would receive just over $11 million and the state would have the potential to earn revenues in the $93 million range.

The final option is known as the Third Agreement which would be an extension of the understandings by a ten year time frame and would see the Cedar Rapids Development Group pay an additional $75,000 each year for the duration of the agreement.

Today is the deadline for the gambling license applications to be turned in so that companies can be considered. Official proposals will be expected soon after. Late last year, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted on the consideration which allowed companies interested in the gaming license to prepare a proposal request. The Commission then has the ability to grant at least one of the proposals or reject all three.

It will be interesting to see what the Commission decides and how it will affect the state of Iowa. The developments would bring much-needed revenues to the area along with job creation both during the construction phase as well as permanently once the developments are completed.