Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) and the Linn County Gaming Association (LCGA) have announced their intention to jointly apply for a gaming license with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) following the expiration of a two-year state moratorium on new gaming licenses, set to conclude on June 30.

The initiative, named Cedar Crossing, marks a significant development in the prolonged effort to establish a casino in Linn County, Iowa.

A long-awaited opportunity:

Historically, the IRGC has twice rejected proposals for a Linn County casino, citing concerns about market saturation and potential revenue cannibalization from existing casinos. However, with new commission members in place, there is optimism for a favorable reconsideration of the Cedar Crossing casino project.

Linn County voters demonstrated strong support by passing a gaming referendum in November 2021, allowing developers to pursue a casino license indefinitely. This local backing underscores community enthusiasm and readiness for the project’s advancement.

“The time is now for Cedar Crossing,” affirmed Jonathan Swain, a board member of P2E, according to The Gazette“Linn County residents have decisively backed two gaming referendums, showing tremendous patience. With the moratorium soon ending, we are eager to introduce an unparalleled casino and entertainment destination to Cedar Rapids.”

The upcoming IRGC meeting on July 8 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona is expected to discuss the application process for new gaming licenses. This meeting follows the Iowa Legislature’s decision not to extend the moratorium, enabling the IRGC to evaluate Iowa’s gaming landscape and make informed decisions beneficial to the state.

Economic benefits and community commitment:

A study commissioned by IRGC in December 2021 projected that a Cedar Rapids casino could generate an additional $51 million in statewide gaming revenue. Swain emphasized the economic impact, noting that brick-and-mortar casinos provide substantial local returns compared to online alternatives. The Cedar Crossing project aims to bolster Cedar Rapids, Linn County, and surrounding communities economically and culturally.

The proposed $250 million Cedar Crossing complex envisions Iowa’s 20th state-licensed casino, complemented by bars, restaurants featuring celebrity chefs, event spaces, and a gaming floor. The development includes flood protection infrastructure, aligning with Cedar Rapids’ ongoing flood control initiatives.

In anticipation of favorable IRGC considerations, Cedar Rapids City Council approved preliminary terms with the Cedar Rapids Development Group to purchase city-owned property. This agreement facilitates the potential transformation of the property into Cedar Crossing Casino, ensuring robust local involvement and development oversight.

“The commitment of the development team underscores their dedication to Cedar Rapids,” stated Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell, as Corridor Business Journal reports.“This proposal promises significant benefits for our city and Linn County, enhancing opportunities for residents and visitors alike while supporting vital community organizations.”

Anne Parmley, President of LCGA, highlighted the project’s potential to elevate Linn County’s vibrancy. “A local casino could contribute $5 million to $7 million annually to nonprofits,” Parmley affirmed. “This substantial support will enrich local organizations, reinforcing Linn County as a premier place to live, work, and visit.”

The enthusiasm extends beyond residents to include local officials and trade unions, affirming the widespread community backing for the Cedar Crossing initiative.