New casino license for Cedar Rapids denied

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The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted to deny a license for a proposed new casino project in downtown Cedar Rapids.

The five commission members voted 4-1 against issuing the license at a meeting Thursday, April 17, 2014 in Council Bluffs.

Commissioners voting against the license cited two studies that concluded a casino would hurt business at existing casinos in Iowa, especially Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa, which is 40 miles south of Cedar Rapids.

Riverside Casino CEO Dan Kehl was a leading opponent of the Cedar Rapids facility. Kehl is also operating Davenport’s Rhythm City Casino while a new casino complex is built along Veteran’s Memorial Parkway.

Mayor Ron Corbett and other city leaders saw the $174-million project as having potential to boost flood recovery and flood protection in Cedar Rapids.

The commission was scheduled to vote on a license request for a proposed casino in Greene County in June 2014.