Linn County backers hope Cedar Rapids casino after moratorium

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Linn County Gaming Association logo.

The leader of the group pushing for a casino license for Cedar Rapids says they’re not giving up.

Linn County Gaming Association board chairwoman Anne Parmley said the group had hoped the governor wouldn’t sign the bill that suspends licensing. “Well, I think it would have been pessimistic not to hold out hope. So yeah, we held out some hope, but we figured that would probably be the outcome,” she says.

The bill the governor signed into law on Friday freezes casino licensing at age 19 for the next two years. Parmley’s group had artists’ renderings of the installation made and were preparing for the start of the licensing approval process. “The way we look at it now is that we have to wait two years and work for those two years to make sure that things move forward in two years, so that we can build this facility and start reaping the benefits. for Linn County,” Parmley said.

Parmley says they will continue to work on their plan and keep their followers updated. “Standing in front of City Council to let them know what’s going on, as well as the supervisors, these groups have been incredibly supportive of this effort and will continue to be active with them to understand what’s going to happen,” Parmley said. “I think it gives the developers more time to just evolve the concept and the location and all that.”

Iowa Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver said “game fatigue” led lawmakers to the temporary moratorium because they wanted to see how things would turn out. Parmley says gambling competition with border states of Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois is one thing that could have an impact over the next two years. And the concern will remain about the impact of a Cedar Rapids casino on existing casinos.

She expects another study to look into this question as well. “And I think this study would look at both cannibalization as well as you know, within the state but across borders, and really give us better insights to look at about what exactly that means from our days,” she said.

Parmley says the moratorium is disappointing – but they need to move on. “You kind of have to understand what’s under your control. And right now, the two-year delay is not in our control. So we just have to move forward and we’re really excited about what’s possible,” according to Parmley. “The city is way behind, moving forward, despite being behind, and really excited about what this side of the river could look like with this facility.”

The licensing moratorium will expire in July 2024.

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