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Future Operator of Proposed Cedar Rapids Casino to Dispose of Some Business Assets in a Churchill Downs Deal

The future operator of a Linn County-based casino is to sell some assets to the gambling, racing and online wagering operator Churchill Downs Inc.

This week, the would-be operator of the Cedar Rapids casino announced that it is selling some properties, as well as the control of its Sioux City casino, to Churchill Downs in a deal estimated at $2.5 billion. The agreement does not involve the company’s Iowa subsidiary drafting a proposal for the casino in Cedar Rapids. The deal has been agreed upon between Churchill Downs and the Cedar Rapids Development Group’s parent company, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, also known as P2E.

The president of P2E, Jonathan Swain, has explained that the agreement does not change the investors’ plans to seek and get the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s (IRGC) permission to establish a casino in Linn County. Mr. Swain further noted that the project is expected to be the company’s best one so far and it had been a time-consuming process for the operator, which remains willing to grab the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if the state’s gambling regulatory body gives permission to do so. As the P2E president further noted, his company currently has a number of developments in the works in other states.

Peninsula Pacific Entertainment has been operating since 1999 as the parent company for Peninsula Gaming, the owner of the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque. Ten years ago, in 2012, Peninsula Gaming changed its ownership after being acquired by Boyd Gaming Corp. in a deal worth $1.45 billion.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sioux City to Be Acquired by Unnamed Third Party

As revealed by the future operator of Cedar Rapids casino, the recent deal includes the disposal of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sioux City which is currently owned by Peninsula Pacific. Churchill Downs revealed plans to dispose of the downtown gaming complex to a third party whose name was not unveiled. The new owner of the casino would lease the gambling facility back to Churchill Downs to operate, under the terms of the two companies’ purchase deal.

In a statement, Churchill Downs revealed that if, for some reason, this does not happen, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sioux City will become part of the overall deal with P2E, boosting the total price of the agreement to $2.75 billion, rather than $2.485 billion.

The deal between Peninsula Pacific Entertainment and Churchill Downs also includes the thoroughbred New Kent-based racing complex of Colonial Downs Racetrack; the Lago Resort and Casino complex situated on a 96,000-square-foot site in Waterloo, N.Y.; as well as 6 historical horse racing facilities operating in the state of Virginia under the Rosie’s Gaming Emporium brand.

The recently announced agreement would need the approval of the involved state regulatory bodies – the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, as well as state gambling regulators in New York and Virginia. It is expected to be finalized by the end of 2022.

Proposed Cedar Rapids Casino Would Be Cornerstone Project for P2E

As estimated by Mr. Swain, the establishment of a casino in Cedar Rapids would be a cornerstone in the company’s properties. He also explained that the development of their casino in Cedar Rapids is supported by studies of the economic effects of a potential casino venue in the region, such as additional gaming revenue for the state.

Peninsula Pacific Entertainment’s president refused to share any further details on the Cedar Rapids casino project, including the potential site for the proposed venue. Reportedly, the location of the now-demolished Cooper’s Mill is among the potential sites to host the project, as city leaders want to see the casino established downtown.

As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, both city officials and investors have recognized the proposed casino establishment as a huge opportunity for a gambling venue to support local infrastructure, non-profit organizations and entertainment options, so that it helps the overall economic development of the region.

Mr. Swain has shared hopes that the talks with the state gambling regulatory body will present a chance for the county to apply for a casino operating license. If this happens, the company would present something that he described as a “significantly larger investment” than the ones P2E had made so far.

 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.