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Residents of Linn County to Vote on November 2nd Referendum to Authorize Gambling

The residents of Linn County will be once again given the chance to decide whether gambling should be authorized in the local community. Today, a referendum on the ballot could change the prospects for the communities across the state that rely on funding from already existing casinos.

The state of Iowa has seen considerable expansion of the local gambling sector since local lawmakers have paved the way for legal games of chance to enter the state. Currently, the residents of the state could try their luck at roulette tables and slot machines but the second-largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids, still does not have a casino venue of its own.

The referendum, which is set to take place on November 2nd, is the latest step in the lengthy casino approval process in the county, which has already decided to authorize gambling.

Almost a decade ago, in 2013, Linn County voted overwhelmingly in favor of gambling expansion.

Now, if the proposed measure is approved, the county will see legal gambling services kick off, and the permission would be made permanent. According to supporters of the gambling expansion in the county, the authorization of gambling would be a significant opportunity for the community. Proponents of the idea have been confident that the measure will pass now, especially considering the fact that the 2013 referendum saw the proposal pass by a double-digit margin. Furthermore, there is currently no organized opposition against the measure, unlike the one faced by the proposal 8 years ago.

The State’s Gambling Watchdog Will Have the Final Word on Cedar Rapids Casino

Casino developers such as Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, who have been willing to establish a casino in Cedar Rapids, have pledged to share 8% of their revenues with local non-profit organizations, which is more than double the rate required by the state of Iowa from gambling companies. According to supporters of expanded gambling in Linn County, the establishment of a casino venue would present a huge philanthropic opportunity for the county, especially at a time when many people are struggling with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, proponents of gambling expansion do not see local voters as the biggest hurdle that the measure is likely to face, but the state’s gambling regulatory body, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. The Commission has already voted to block casinos from being established in Cedar Rapids two times in recent years because of concerns that such developments would siphon revenue from other operations in the state, so its reaction this time could be the same.

After local residents vote on the issue, it is the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that will have the final word on the project.

According to some analysts, if a casino were to be established in Cedar Rapids, some of the gamblers who travel to neighboring states to gamble in their casinos would prefer to visit a local casino instead, so their money would remain in the state. Others, however, have cited research showing that other casinos in the state have cannibalized other operations within the state. Some of them have even predicted that average revenues across the state will decline in case a casino comes to Cedar Rapids, even with the site attracting new gamblers.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.