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City Leaders React to Casino Studies

ALTOONA, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Supporters of a proposed Cedar Rapids casino meet with the racing and gaming commission.

Today two firms presented their casino market share findings in a meeting in Altoona. 

Those studies say that "Cedar Crossing" would take revenue away from other casinos in the area.

"You have to look at the greater good of the Cedar Rapids community and the state, said Mayor Ron Corbett.

That's what Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is hoping the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will take into consideration. 

After both firms gave their findings to the commission Thursday morning, he says they failed to emphasize the obvious.

"The casino will be successful. Both studies show that the casino will have 83 to 87 million which is more than what the local Cedar Rapids study show, said Mayor Corbett.

City leaders say the study also missed the mark on some key points.

"Well they are fatally flawed. It will be like being an airline and projecting your entire traffic based upon just frequent fliers, said Doug Gross of the Cedar Rapids Development Group.

Doug Gross spoke to the commission when they called for public comment.

He argued that the study ignored the fact that Cedar Rapids is the number two tourism and convention city in Iowa.

They effectively didn't count any of those least the market for those people, he said, but city leaders weren't the only ones allowed to comment.

One West Des Moines resident, who described himself as a gambler, spoke out against an additional casino.

"For a state of only three million people we have more forms of gambling than the state of Nevada, said Gary Thelen who says hes against more casinos.

Still casino lead investor Steve Gray says he's keeping his fingers crossed.

"We've been working at this for the better part of three years and we continue to be optimistic, he said.

The next step comes April 3rd when the commission comes to Cedar Rapids to tour this site.
They'll vote on the proposal on April 17th.

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