Voters in Linn County will face the question of whether to once again give their permission to allow gambling at the polls in November 2021. If they back their previous decision, they will provide Cedar Rapids with the chance to once again pursue state regulators’ approval for the construction of a casino venue.
On May 13th, the Board of Supervisors in Linn County agreed to see the county staff draft a resolution that is to be placed as a referendum question on the ballot on November 2nd. If local voters give their approval to the question for a second time, they would permanently allow gambling in the county.
As mentioned above, voter permission could pave the way for the casino establishment ambitions of Cedar Rapids but the city would have to secure a legal permit for the casino from regulators who have already turned down such casino applications in 2014 and 2017. Furthermore, if the question receives the voters’ favor at the referendum, that would mean simply one step forward for the potential bid of Cedar Rapids to the establishment of a brick-and-mortar casino.
The gambling question will be part of the issues that would be placed on the upcoming ballot. Also, a week ago, some Cedar Rapids officials revealed that they will also seek an extension of the 1% local-option sales tax that is set to be used for funding some infrastructure work in a number of local communities.
No Specific Location Announced for Potential Casino Establishment in Cedar Rapids
Brad Hart, Mayor of Cedar Rapids, who backs the gambling measure, explained that investors will remain linked to the process in case a casino proposal is approved by voters and licensed gambling is authorized on a permanent basis in the county.
A memorandum of understanding ending on October 9th, 2029 has been signed between Cedar Rapids and the Cedar Rapids Development Group. The 10-year deal guarantees that a total of $75,000 a year is to be paid by the group of investors to the city in return for the local authorities’ exclusive support for a potential casino license application of the city.
The agreement, however, is not associated with a specific location. This would basically mean that a potential site would have to be chosen in case an application for a casino construction is made again. The originally proposed location involved an 8-acre site at First Avenue and First Street SW but it should not be considered as an option anymore.
One of the investors in the group, Jonathan Swain, explained that the investors back the previously unveiled plans to place the measure on the ballot in November. He also reminded that in 2013, a measure to bring a casino to Linn County was supported by an overwhelming majority of voters. Now, the investors remain committed to the proposed development of a world-class casino in Cedar Rapids.