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It's Official: Cedar Rapids Casino Vote is March 5th

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Linn County voters will get their say on a proposed Cedar Rapids casino March 5th.

The Linn County Board of Supervisors set that date today for a gaming referendum that would allow casinos in the county. That is the date casino developers had requested when they turned in a petition with more than 16,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot.

If the referendum passes, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would still need to approve a casino license. The commission has denied several recent license requests, fearing any new casino will only pull revenue from existing casinos in the state.

Casino Developer Steve Gray presented KCRG with studies claiming a Cedar Rapids casino would generate $80 million dollars a year in revenue. Only $18 million of that would come from existing casinos, according to the study, and most of that would com from the Meskwaki Casino, run by the Meskwaki tribe, not the state.

The "Vote Yes Linn County" campaign began running adds this week, claiming a Cedar Rapids casino would generate millions of dollars for the economy and create more than 600 new jobs.

Opponents argue those claims are unfounded because developers have not outlined many specifics of the proposed casino, including possible locations or exact size. They argue casinos unfairly target the poor and attract corruption and crime.

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