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Cedar Rapids City Council To Discuss New Iowa Casino Plans

Written By Nicholaus Garcia | Updated:
Vintage Western Casino Neon Sign with Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The Cedar Rapids City Council is set to consider a proposal from a development group to purchase a plot of land earmarked for a potential casino. The decision is for an option-to-purchase agreement allowing the development group to buy the land through Dec. 31, 2025. 

The Cedar Rapids Development Group (CRDG) announced it wanted to build a new Iowa casino almost a year ago. If approved, the deal would set aside a plot of land near downtown for a new casino and entertainment complex. 

City officials set a public hearing date to consider the agreement on July 11.

City officials to consider new Iowa casino

Under the terms of the deal, the CRDG would pay $165,000 for the option to purchase the property. 

If the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission considers an application for a new casino, CRDG could extend its option to Dec. 31, 2026, and pay the city another $55,000.

According to The Iowa Gazette, once it comes time to purchase the land, the city will sell it at its fair market value determined by an appraiser. Speaking with the Gazette, Jonathan Swain, president of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, the city’s preferred operator, said:

“I’m perpetually optimistic both about the commission and the Legislature. All we ask for is the opportunity to present our case before both bodies and make this opportunity for Cedar Rapids come to life.”

On June 22, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed HF 2497 into law, which instituted a two-year moratorium on new casino licenses until June 2024. 

Twenty days earlier, CRDG unveiled plans for a $250 million, 160,00 square-foot project called “Cedar Crossing,” which will be operated by Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E).

Once the moratorium ends, CRDG plans to apply for a gaming license with the state gaming commission. 

City casino plans

Under the proposed city agreement, the Iowa casino would call for a minimum of $150 million and several other amenities. 

City plans include:

  • 125,000-square-foot, one-story complex
  • 45,000-square-foot gaming facility
  • 11,000-square-foot restaurant space
  • 12,000-square-foot event space
  • 1,500 parking spaces

The city would also establish a Community Betterment Fund to support economic development. Based on the adjusted net gaming win, the CRDG would make 2.5% monthly payments to the fund starting in year one. 

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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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