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State Agrees to Hear Linn County Casino Application

OSCEOLA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission took two steps regarding a possible casino in Linn County -- both a victory in the eyes of casino supporters.

“We’ve obviously spent quite a bit of time preparing for this moment, and for the commission to decide to accept applications in Linn County is a big win for Linn County,” chief casino investor Steve Gray said.

The first step is to open up and accept applications until September 3rd for a Linn County casino.

The second was to perform a statewide market analysis of gaming in Iowa.

Gray said these decisions are a big step forward for the project.

“It’s a very satisfying day,” he said.

That said, commission chairman Jeff Lamberti said Thursday’s actions weren’t necessarily a victory.

“Simply part of the process,” Lamberti said.

The statewide analysis has not been done in several years and could take some time.

“We don’t know what the market studies are going to show. We don’t want to know at this point. We want them to be fair, independent, and unbiased,” Lamberti said.

Eventually, the IRGC will weigh the market study findings with the Linn County application, but there is a lot more work to do before then.

“We still have to finalize the sale of the land to the casino group, and we’re working on a development agreement, so we’ve got a lot of work to get done here in June, July, and August before we meet that September 3rd deadline,” Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett said.

“There’s no such thing as a certainty in any of this, so we look forward to working the process, getting our application filed, and hopefully, the commission will decide to support our application,” Gray said.

Gray said as of last week, all site and environmental analysis is complete. They are not looking to sign the development agreement with the city, as well as find a casino operator.

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