So revenues flowing into Iowa’s state-licensed casinos dropped slightly during the fiscal year that ended June 30. This news may draw some interest here in the potential future home of Iowa’s next big old gambling parlor.
The Gazette’s Rod Boshart has the essentials:
Iowa’s state-licensed racetrack and riverboat casinos saw a slight slow down in wagering in fiscal 2013 after posting record revenue the previous year, according to new state data issue Thursday.
The three racetrack casinos and 15 riverboats licensed to offer legal gambling in Iowa reported adjusted gross revenue of just over $1.444 billion for the 12-month period that ended June 30, the state Racing and Gaming Commission said. That was down nearly $21.76 million, or about 1.5 percent, from the casinos’ best-ever financial take of nearly $1.466 billion in fiscal 2012.
“I think things have leveled out a little bit,” said commission administrator Brian Ohorilko. “We ended up pretty close to where we were last year.”
Wes Ehrecke, president of the Iowa Gaming Association, which represents 18 commercial casinos licensed by the state to operate in Iowa, said gaming operations in Iowa were affected by inclement weather, video lottery terminals operating in Illinois and other competition, and continued economic factors that impact people’s discretionary spending.
Things seem pretty stable. Of course the question here is how does a report like this affect Cedar Rapids’ application for a casino license?
Not much, probably. Although words such as “leveled,” “stable” and “soft,” as Racing and Gaming Commission Chairman Jeff Lamberti describes the industry in the article, don’t exactly scream out for expansion.
Rising revenues could have helped make the case that the state’s gambling industry has room for one more player at the table.
But, still, hey, look at the giant pile of money! There’s got to be enough to go around. What’s one more casino?
At the two state-licensed casinos most worried about Cedar Rapids’ prospects, the numbers were mixed. The Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo took in just more than $86 million, up from nearly $83.6 million in 2012. Meanwhile, Riverside Casino and Golf Resort pulled in $88.6 million, down from $90.3 million in 2012. Riverside is still making more than it did in 2011. And its 2013 revenues might have been a little larger had it not spent roughly $1.2 million trying to defeat the Linn County gambling referendum.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett told Boshart that he doesn’t see the revenue report as a big deal. In fact, the thinks these stable numbers might mean the industry needs a shot of new competition to give it a financial boost. That’s pretty good spin, and the mayor may be right.
On the other hand, studies being commissioned by the commission could find that plopping a Cedar Rapids casino into these stable market waters, with limited growth potential, would mean lots of that dreaded casino cannibalization. That would be a big deal. Until we see those studies, it’s all speculation.
Here are all the numbers you’d ever want and more: