The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission heard proposals for a casino in downtown Cedar Rapids early Thursday morning at the Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel in Altoona.
During the meeting, two applicants competing for one gambling license pitched three proposals to state casino regulators, according to The Gazette.
The proposals include one of two proposals from the Cedar Rapids Development Group-Peninsula Pacific Partnership. The site for the $165 million Cedar Crossing on the River is situated on 8 acres of vacant city-owned land along the Cedar River. The plan calls for multiple restaurants, entertainment space, a retail area, 22 gaming tables, 840 slot machines, and annual revenue of $83.8 million.
The concept for Cedar Crossing on the River reportedly nearly mirrors a bid from the Cedar Rapids Development Group that in a 4-1 vote was rejected by the commission in 2014 after an investigation found that any new gambling venue in Linn County would likely cannibalize business from nearby casinos including the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort.
Cedar Rapids Development Group’s second proposal is for Cedar Crossing Central, which would replace the Five Season Parking Ramp on First Avenue E near the U-S Cellular Center and DoubleTree Hotel. The $105 million investment includes dining and beverage service, 550 slot machines, 15 gaming tables, and annual revenue of $63 million.
The third proposal is from Wild Rose Casinos and is for a $40 million small-scale boutique style casino on First Avenue E, with between 600 and 700 slot machines and 15 to 20 gaming tables. No additional amenities, such as a bar or dining, are included in the plan for Wild Rose Cedar Rapids. Projected annual revenue for this gambling venue is $42 million.
The law reportedly requires that a minimum of three percent of the gambling revenue from any proposal be distributed among community projects via a local nonprofit board; one which would also hold the license. Other costs include a $25,000 application fee, along with a $30,000 deposit for criminal background checks. If the license is granted, an additional fee of $20 million may be paid over a five-year period.
According to the news agency, on September 26 the commission will meet again to visit the Cedar Rapids site and on October 12 to consider market studies on Iowa’s gaming industry, and November 16 will see the commission vote on a license.