Cedar Rapids has been looking for a on line casino property to assist jump-start the town’s economic system for practically a decade. A latest invoice handed by the Iowa Legislature would delay such a gaming initiative for a minimum of one other two years.
The Iowa Legislature accepted a gaming invoice final week that primarily has to do with minor regulatory adjustments. However lawmakers threw in with little dialogue a two-year moratorium that blocks the Iowa Racing and Gaming Fee (IRGC) from issuing new gaming licenses till July 1, 2024.
Lawmakers justified the availability by saying the state’s 19 industrial riverboat and brick-and-mortar casinos want a secure working atmosphere in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa’s 2019 authorization of sports activities betting, which has introduced the gaming business into the limelight with incessant sports activities betting promoting, was additionally cited for the two-year stalemate.
Officers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-most populated metropolis, say the invoice ordering the state gaming fee to forgo contemplating new on line casino bids is unfair. With Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) not tipping her hand on whether or not she’ll signal Home Fill 2497, or a minimum of strike the moratorium part, Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell is pleading her case to sway the governor right into a veto.
The perfect course for Iowa is to maintain gaming selections below the purview of the IRGC. They’re greatest suited to find out the suitable path ahead for our gaming business,” O’Donnell wrote in her letter to the governor.
“Accordingly, I respectfully ask you to veto HF 2497,” the mayor pleaded.
Cedar Rapids voters have already twice lent their backing to election questions relating to the authorization of a on line casino. An entity referred to as the Cedar Rapids Improvement Group, which entails roughly 80 native traders, has since 2014 been proposing resort developments with gaming operations.
The IRGC, nevertheless, denied Cedar Rapids’ on line casino utility in 2014 and 2017 on market saturation issues. The group’s 2022 on line casino pitch argues that with the Cedar Rapids regional inhabitants rising by over 40,000 residents because the final census, the IRGC is likely to be extra inclined to concern the town a gaming license.
O’Donnell cited in her letter to the governor a latest IRGC-commission examine carried out by The Innovation Group, a gaming consultancy. That examine discovered a Cedar Rapids on line casino would solely enhance statewide internet gaming income by $50 million a yr.
Little Legislative Dialogue
Within the days following the choice by Iowa’s state politicians to position an embargo on new gaming licenses, it has turn into obvious that there was slim debate relating to the moratorium.
It was extremely irritating to be taught of the shortage of dialogue or consideration concerned within the moratorium modification,” O’Donnell advised Reynolds. “On Senator Jack Whitver’s Iowa Press look, he said the Senate Republican caucus mentioned the difficulty for ‘in all probability 20 seconds.’”
“They [state lawmakers] in all probability didn’t have time to debate the findings of the 2 latest, impartial, IRGC-commissioned research,” the mayor continued. “On condition that the amended invoice was filed and handed each chambers in a matter of hours, the town and IRGC had been unable to share this critically necessary data with the legislature.”
Together with The Innovation Group evaluate, the IRGC contracted Spectrum Gaming, one other consultancy, to probe the enterprise influence that new casinos in Nebraska may have on Iowa’s gaming business. Analysts decided that new gaming choices in Nebraska might value Council Bluffs and Sioux Metropolis casinos 40%-45% of their market share.