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MARKET GROWTH: Gaming Commission To Study Linn County

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Linn County voters gave a resounding yes to the gambling referendum Tuesday, now all focus shifts to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

“I think we sent a pretty strong message,” casino investor Steve Gray said after the final vote showed 61 percent of residents supported the idea.

Community support is one of 17 criteria the IRGC will look at when it comes to deciding if they should issue a gaming license to the county. Other factors like local impact and financial support a proposed casino would have on a community are weighted more than others.

They also consider the overall impact on existing casinos and the net gain for the gaming industry. Area casino operators have voiced concern that the market is already fully saturated.

In 2009, the IRGC conducted two studies on the market feasibility of adding additional state casinos.  One of the reports, while focused on Northwest and Central Iowa, found the Eastern Iowa market to be fully-served.  At that time, IRGC members elected not to consider any additional licenses for another three to five years after.

It is likely the commission will conduct another in-depth studies through an independent firm on the market feasibility of Eastern Iowa because it is possible the market has grown.

“I believe there has been.  I know that’s one of the things that (investors) Steve Gray and Drew Skogman did early on is do their own impact study, and those showed them numbers that gave them enough belief to proceed,” current IRGC member Greg Seyfer said.

It will most likely take the IRGC at least six months before they make a decision.

Meanwhile, a gambling referendum is scheduled in Warren County for May 7.

Thanks to our sister station KWWL for this story.