Prairie Meadows Set to Lose Nonprofit Status

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ALTOONA, Iowa — The pressure is on Prairie Meadows Casino & Racetrack leaders after the IRS announced it is revoking the casino’s nonprofit status.

The decision was released Thursday and now Prairie Meadows has just 30 days to convince the IRS not to go through with the revocation.

The casino could lose an estimated $30 million a year in federal tax breaks and Polk County organizations stand to lose millions of dollars in donations.

“I don`t think we need to panic at this time, but if this would happen, this would be huge to Polk County and the non-profits in this county. I mean huge,” said Polk County supervisor John Mauro.

Over the last 10 years Prairie Meadows has donated to a number of school districts, metro charities, and tourist attractions.

The James Cownie Baseball Complex south of downtown is here thanks in part to that money.

Coaches say those donations remain essential.

“The future is dependent on the money that continues to come in. A lot of people don’t have an idea of how much it takes to run a little league,” said S. Des Moines Baseball League Coach Brian Jack. “We are a premier facility in Iowa because of the grants that Prairie Meadows has contributed.”

The county itself also relies on casino funds. Each year, it uses $26 million in rent from Prairie Meadows to pay its own bills.

The IRS claims that the racetrack and casino operation is one of the top 10 revenue-generating organizations operating as non-profit social welfare agencies in the country, taking in $2 billion a year in bets or gross receipts.