Group Hopes Third Time’s a Charm With $250m Cedar Rapids Casino Proposal

  • The proposal earmarks 8% of net gaming revenue to local non-profit groups
  • Linn County might have to wait until June 2024 to get a casino license
  • Cedar Rapids’ mayor believes that a casino would help revitalize the city
  • Attempts in 2014 and 2017 to get the green light for a casino in Cedar Rapids were unsuccessful
Cedar Rapids on a map
Advocates of a Cedar Rapids casino have unveiled a new $250m proposal. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Helping non-profit groups

Casino advocates in Cedar Rapids, Iowa have revealed their plans for a $250m facility. The Linn Gaming Association, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, and the Cedar Rapid Development Group worked together on the plans. 

The proposed property in Linn County would include an event center, bars, and restaurants. There would also be a “foodertainment” venue that would carry the name of local two-time major championship-winning golfer Zach Johnson.

contribute 8% of net gaming revenue to non-profit groups in the local area

The group behind the new proposal believes that the casino would create lots of new jobs and revenue. They would be happy to contribute 8% of net gaming revenue to non-profit groups in the local area, which could amount to between $5m and $7m annually.

A big deal to the city

The Iowa Legislature passed a bill that would introduce a two-year moratorium on the issuance of any new gaming licenses. If the bill goes into effect, Linn County would likely have to wait until June 2024 before applying for a license. However, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has not yet put pen to paper on the bill.

Peninsula Pacific Entertainment has previously developed other casinos in Iowa, including the Hard Rock Hotel Sioux City and Diamond Jo casinos in Worth County and Dubuque.

Speaking about the new casino proposal, Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell said: “Cedar Crossing is going to be a cornerstone of revitalization efforts in Cedar Rapids.”

She added that the people who are leading the proposal live in the area and know all about the local community. The mayor believes that they can help create a “world-class gaming and entertainment destination.”

Local support

There has been a push to bring a casino to Cedar Rapids for many years, but efforts have always come up short. Previous proposals to have a casino in Linn County were dismissed in both 2014 and 2017 by the state’s gaming commission. Advocates of the new proposal, though, believe that a softening stance on gambling expansion in the state and new gaming commission members could be good for the chance of the new proposal. 

A large portion of Linn County residents supports the development of a casino. In November 2021, a referendum vote on the matter saw 55% of voters coming out in favor of a casino. They did not vote for a particular casino proposal. The outcome of the vote meant that the Cedar Rapids Development Group, alongside relevant partners, would put together a plan and present it to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission at some future date.