JEFFERSON CASINO: License Being Considered

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The process to build a $40-million casino in Jefferson started last summer with a referendum and more than 75 percent of the county voted in favor of it.

Before a casino can be built, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission must grant developers a license.

Thursday, Wild Rose Entertainment and members of the group called "Grow Greene County" tried to convince the Racing and Gaming Commission to grant them a gaming license.

“We just really think that Greene County is behind this and it’s an awesome place to have a casino come,” says Grow Greene County volunteer, Brenda Muir.

Supporters say a casino could help the rural town. If the casino is built, Wild Rose says, it would create 325 new full time jobs, making the casino the second largest employer in Greene County.

However, two analysts hired by the Racing and Gaming Commission, say Iowa can't support another casino.

They found a casino in Greene County would generate roughly $30 million in revenue each year but only $8 million of that would be new gambling revenue. The rest would be generated by a drop in revenue at other Iowa casinos.

“Grow Greene County” says the casino would have other features that would benefit neighboring counties.

“So to have a hotel and conference center, I think the economic development in the area would be a fantastic,” says Chris Henning, Director of Greene County Chamber and Development.

The Racing and Gaming Commission will visit the proposed site in May and make a final decision to approve the casino in June.