Casino Backers Doubt Latest Gaming Revenue Figures Will Impact Plans

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

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By Dave Franzman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Supporters of a casino project in Cedar Rapids don’t believe the latest state gaming revenue report will have a big impact on their proposal.

Iowa’s state-licensed racetracks and riverboat casinos saw a slight slowdown in wagering in fiscal 2013. The three racetrack casinos and 15 riverboats offering gaming in Iowa reported combined revenue of $1.444-billion dollars for the fiscal year ending June 30th. That compares to $1.466-billion the year before. That year was a record one for gaming revenue. The decrease in gaming money in fiscal 2013 compared to the year before was 1.5%.

Steve Gray, head of the Cedar Rapids Development Group, said he and the other casino investors are “not too concerned about it (gaming revenue report) because there are so many variables.” Gray added the fact gaming revenue slipped a year after setting an all-time record will “not impact our plans whatsoever.”

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett agreed noting that revenue figures for gaming have fluctuated for a number of years. But the trend has been upward in most recent years. The revenue reported in fiscal 2013 is still higher than the amount in 2011.

"Our studies have shown that there's availability for at least another casino in this market and we think the racing and gaming commission will look fovorably on that," the mayor said.

Corbett said the company selected by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to study the prospects for additional licenses will take the latest revenue figures into account. But the mayor doubted it would be any kind of overriding factor in the questions Cedar Rapids casino supporters will face when it’s time to argue for a new license before gaming regulators next year.

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