Tech Support

Technical support issues

Iowa residents have mixed reactions to new casino plans

Winning is sweet for Riverside Mayor Bill Porch, who won the Iowa Gambling License.

His city will collect millions of dollars in taxes from the spectacular $107 million Washington County Casino & Golf Resort, which is expected to open in early 2007.

"You're going to have to search hard to find someone negative about it," Poch said.

But in Kalona, a rural town six miles west of the town, horse-drawn carriages are common on the road with Amish farmers. Many in Kalona opposed the casino plan before it was approved by the Iowa Racing Game Board last week.

We're not exactly happy because gambling can be a waste of money and we're not sure how to make our community better," said Betty Engel, who owns a natural food store in Kalona. "But we want to think positively about it now. It can attract a lot of tourists."

The mixed response to the news that Riverside won its casino license is not that surprising. Washington County voters split fairly evenly in a referendum last year to allow casino gambling. The proposal was approved by a 52-48 margin.

Similar sentiments are being expressed in Wafelo County, where the state's rejection of a proposed $40 million steel wire casino in Ottumwa has not disappointed everyone. Wafelo County voters favored casino gambling by a 54-46 margin in the October 2003 election.

State regulators last week awarded licenses for casino projects in Waterloo, Emetsburg and Worth counties. The commission rejected a request for a casino license from Fort Dodge in Franklin County and a rival bid from Waterloo and Emetsburg.
In Riverside, a community of 928 people south of Iowa City, Mayor Poch is only thinking positively in the aftermath of last week's event.

Poch gives a thumbs up as he talks about 850 jobs to be created by his town's Riverboat Casino and Championship Golf Course. Poch will net nearly $2 million a year from the resort complex, more than double the current city budget of $900,000.

Poch said floating casino boats along the Iowa River will help revitalize Riverside's mostly onboard business district. He hopes to attract shops selling ceramics, silverware, leather goods and antiques to some of the 1.5 million gamblers a year.

He is also planning to use the city's captaincy, which will be the future birthplace of Star Trek Captain James T. Kirk. One of the possibilities is the Star Trek Museum.

"The Iowa college football weekend will be infested around here," Poch said. "We can't let thousands of people come here."

The Riverside Casino will be 50% owned by local investors, 43.75% by Iowa's Catfish Bend Casino and 6.25% by Kell Management. The casino complex will be built on Iowa Highway 22, about 11/2 miles east of U.S. Highway 218.

Leaders of the Ottumwa community in Wapello County complained that the proposed Riverboat Casino by Wild Rose Entertainment did not receive one of the coveted gambling licenses. The Wild Rose application was one vote short with two votes from the five-member Racing and Gaming Commission.

WaPelo County Supervisor Steve Siegel said after the commission's action that he was trying to figure out how to sway one more commissioner before further license suspensions were considered in July.

On Saturday, Governor Tom Vilsak said game commissioners wanted to reconsider Otumwa. The commissioners balked, but Governor Vilsak said Otumwa needed stimulus and "people are relying on (casino licenses) to get them through."

"The economy here is very bad," Short said. "We have too many jobs at McDonald's and Walmart, and we have jobs that pay nothing."

Washington County Casino & Golf Resort CEO Dan Kehl predicted on Riverside that the future looks bright.

The plan includes 1,100 slot machines, 30 table games, a 200-room hotel, a 1,200-seat showroom, a recreational vehicle park, and an 18-hole golf course designed by Reece Jones. The complex, which is currently farmland, is expected to generate between $85 million and $92 million in total gambling revenue per year.

Paul Laroche, who runs Riverside Grain and Feed Co, said the casino would not have much impact on his business as he deals almost strictly with farmers.

"But if you look at the town as a whole, it's definitely going to bring in a lot more money," Laroche said, "and we've lost some businesses in Washington County and we definitely need something."
온라인카지노 Send private email
Friday, February 9, 2024
Powered by FogBugz