At Lakeside Casino near Osceola, Iowa on Thursday, the Iowa Racing and Gaming
Commission met with Cedar Rapids city leaders and investors backing a proposed
casino in the city. The lead investors for the proposed casino were Drew Skogman
and Steve Gray. Two of the commission members on hand served in the State
Legislature with Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, Chairman Jeff Lamberti and
Commissioner Rich Arnold. Two other commissioners were also present at the
meeting Commissioner Kris Kramer and Commissioner Carl Heinrich. The topic of
the meeting was Iowa’s $1.5 billion casino industry.
It was stipulated at the meeting that Gray’s investor group must have its
gambling license application submitted by September 3, 2013. Gray commented
after the meeting “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re optimistic.” The
commission also stipulated that it would hire firms to do two studies on the
gambling market. One would be focused on Linn County, where Cedar Rapids is
located, and the other would be a statewide study. The issue would be what kind
of impact a new casino would have on the existing market.
When asked if the market studies would just be a formality, Chairman Jeff
Lamberti strongly disagreed. “I think, certainly give a lot of credit to the
people who put together the yes vote, they certainly, I think, exceeded most
people’s expectations on the margin. When we’re looking at a new facility,
however, the overriding factor is the impact of a new facility on existing
facilities. … Now, we have casinos that people have invested hundreds of
millions of dollars in. A huge factor is what’s the impact? So a market study in
particular in Linn County is going to be extremely important,” he said. The
three other commissioners also strongly agreed with the chairman’s view that the
market studies would be the deciding factor in whether a state license is
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