CEDAR RAPIDS — The non-profit Linn County Gaming Association Inc. has formally incorporated and says a Cedar Rapids-area casino could steer $2.4 million to $4 million a year to local charitable causes.
A group of investors called Cedar Rapids Development Group LLC announced last week that it will try to open a casino in the Cedar Rapids area by 2016. For that to happen, the developers must persuade Linn County voters to approve gaming here, and then persuade the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to grant a license for the activity.
If such a license is granted, state law requires that it be held by a non-profit entity, rather than the casino operators. The new gaming association was created in discussions between the development group, the Cedar Rapids City Council and the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
The association’s five initial members are Keith Rippy, executive director of the Area Ambulance Service; City Council member Justin Shields; Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson; Linda Seger, president of the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association; and Leah Rodenberg, who works in the field of corporate philanthropy. Rippy is the group’s president.
The gaming association said in a news release that Cedar Rapids Development LLC, led by Cedar Rapids businessman and investor Steve Gray, would operate the casino for 10 years, with options to extend the agreement with the non-profit for up to 50 years.
Gray and Drew Skogman, vice president of Skogman Homes and another of the 22 investors in the casino venture, have said they will begin a petition drive in the near future in an effort to obtain some 12,000 signatures to prompt a Linn County vote on a casino. They said they expect the vote to take place next May or August. The investor group will approach the state Racing and Gaming Commission if the Linn County referendum succeeds.