Backers of casinos in Iowa say that the gaming venues have much to offer a community — new jobs; more visitors; a boost to the local economy.
A central selling point for casinos in Iowa, too, long has been the state’s requirement that a certain percentage of gaming revenue be directed to a local non-profit entity, called a “qualified sponsoring organization.” This entity not only holds the state gaming license for the local community, but sees that a certain percentage of the casino’s revenue is dispensed into the community.
However, the percentage of gaming revenue that ends up in the hands of the local sponsoring organization is determined by agreements reached by each casino owner and its sponsoring organization. And as a result, the percentage of revenue going to the sponsoring organization in each of the 15 Iowa communities with non-race track casinos varies — from under 1 percent to 6 percent of the casino’s annual adjusted gross receipts, according to reports filed with the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.
The majority of the 15 casinos are paying their sponsoring organizations more than 3 percent, which has been the state-required minimum percentage since 2004. And the minimum is what the Steve Gray-led investor group, Cedar Rapids Development Group LLC, has agreed to pay if it succeeds in building a casino in the Cedar Rapids area.
Read the story linked above for more background on the agreement and why it was reached. What do you think? Is the percentage that the Cedar Rapids casino would return to the community via non-profit donations appropriate?