As you may have heard, voters in Linn County are set to once again decide on whether a casino should be built here, and the vote will be on the November 2 ballot. Even if they vote yes, as they have done multiple times in the past, it still has to go to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to approve a gaming license, which has shot it down each time. But, one group of casino backers thinks a little extra nudge can't hurt.
The Linn County Gaming Association and Peninsula Pacific Entertainment are partnering to promote the latest gambling referendum and according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, have sweetened the deal as perhaps a way to get those yes votes from both residents and gambling officials.
Should a casino in Linn County pass, the group has committed to dispersing 8 percent of any revenue from it to area nonprofits, particularly those who assisted during and after the August 10, 2020 derecho and other disasters. This would more than double the required 3-percent minimum that would be mandated by the state.
Casino backers are banking on the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's support this time around as the commission has four new members since the proposal last came up for vote in 2017. Voters will also make their choices for school board members and mayoral candidates in Cedar Rapids, as well as deciding whether or not to extend a local-option sales tax.
Opposition to the casino is based mostly on oversaturation of the market. Linn would be the sixteenth county in Iowa to have a casino, and opponents fear it would siphon off too much revenue from the others.