Greg Seyfer, an attorney at Bradley & Riley in Cedar Rapids and eight-year member of the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission, said he understands that investors in a proposed Cedar Rapids area casino have conducted their own market studies, but he recommends that the commission hire two firms to conduct separate studies like it did in 2009.
At Seyfer’s request, one of the two studies completed for the commission in 2009 came with a brief analysis of the market for a Cedar Rapids casino.
In short, the report, from GVA Marquette Advisors, found that Cedar Rapids is “a key feeder market” for several casinos — those in Riverside, Waterloo, the Meskwaki Indian Settlement, Dubuque and Clinton — and that a new casino in Cedar Rapids was “likely to create strong cannibalization from existing casinos.”
Cedar Rapids casino investors Steve Gray and Drew Skogman say their consultants found that a Cedar Rapids casino would bring in $80 million in adjusted gross receipts a year, but would take away only $18 million in business from existing casinos, with half of the amount coming from the non-state-licensed Indian casino in Tama County.
Casino cannibalization, says Seyfer, is one of 17 different criteria that the commission must consider as it weighs whether or not to grant a new gaming license.
Linn County voters will head to the polls March 5 to decide if a casino should be built in the Cedar Rapids area. If a referendum is passed, the matter would then go to the Racing & Gaming Commission, which would consider whether to issue a new gaming license for the casino.
How big a criteria should possible “cannibalization” be if state regulators consider a new license for a Cedar Rapids area casino?