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Potential Casino in Cedar Rapids Could Negatively Impact Washington County

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 at 6:24 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) will be deciding this November whether or not to allow a casino be built in Cedar Rapids.

If the IRGC votes yes, this could have a negative effect on Washington County, according to the Washington County Riverboat Foundation (WCRF). Foundation President David Mitchell mentions this could not only negatively affect the local economy, but have detrimental effects to the foundation, which receives its backing from the Riverside Casino, “A casino in Cedar Rapids would dramatically hurt Washington County primarily because Riverside Casino and Golf Resort is the largest employer in Washington County and estimates are up to say 250 jobs at Riverside. Since the casino was started in Riverside it’s been a great thing for the county and for the area and a new casino in Cedar Rapids would result in a loss of and certainly would hurt the investors that put their stake in the Riverside Casino.” Mitchell says the Riverside Casino allows a small county like Washington to have funding for projects that may not otherwise be feasible, but could be in a larger county such as Linn.

For over a decade WCRF has given over $40 million in grants to schools, non-profits, civic organizations, and the arts, not only in Washington but in surrounding counties as well. Mitchell is encouraging past grant recipients to reach out to the IRGC, “We want those past grant recipients to make their voices heard to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission as to the great things the Washington County Riverboat Foundation has been able to provide in our county and in our region. We just encourage them to reach out, write letters and let the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission understand how dramatic of an impact the Riverboat Foundation has made, and how big of a negative it would be if there’s a casino in Cedar Rapids.”

The foundation recommends letters be sent to IRGC board members before September 26, when the board will be inspecting possible sites for building a casino. Since 2006, the WCRF has awarded more than 1,100 grants for over $41 million.