Iowa Lawmakers Continue To Contemplate Opening a New Casino in Cedar Rapids

Iowa Lawmakers Continue To Contemplate Opening a New Casino in Cedar Rapids

The U.S. casino industry is predicted to thrive this year. This makes 2022 the best time for a state to open a new casino or two. Iowa is at the center of this as its officials are considering allowing a new casino in Cedar Rapids.

Iowa already has high-end popular casinos. But, the lawmakers feel they need to generate more tax revenue by expanding the state’s casino industry.


IRGC Weighs Pros and Cons of a New Casino

Iowa is one of the largest gambling industries in the Midwest. It hosts several Native American and commercial casinos, which rake in millions of tax revenue each month.

Following last year’s vote by Cedar Rapids voters approving the construction of a new casino in the city, the Iowa Racing and Gambling Commission (IRGC) is tasked with weighing the pros and cons. The commission met last week to evaluate the new casino’s impact. The commission also must confirm that building a new casino would be fair to other casinos already in the state.

According to a report from the Innovation Group, opening a casino in Cedar Rapids is a bad idea. The group believes the casino will harm gaming revenue in East Central Iowa.

The report shows that a Cedar Rapids casino would result in a $61 million decline in revenue generation. This is not the only report the commission will rely on to decide. Instead, it will take months before the commission makes an official decision.


The Sports Gambling Industry Bloomed in 2021

The casino industry is not the only thriving gambling sector in Iowa. Sports betting is also doing well in the state, especially last year. The state was the 11th to legalize sports betting in 2019.

It started with offering sports betting at retail shops before another law was approved, allowing for online betting. Last year, Iowa recorded the highest figures in revenue generation from sports betting.

Bettors wagered over $2 billion exceeding the $575 million wagered in 2020. The vast difference could have resulted from changes in regulations.

Last year, lawmakers agreed to allow bettors to register at online sportsbooks. Before, bettors had to go to a retail shop to register before playing at online sportsbooks.

November and December proved to be the most successful months of sports betting. Considering the National Football League season was up, it explains why the two months recorded some of the highest incomes.

In November, Iowa bettors spent $287.4 million and $266.5 million in December. The casino industry also had significant figures. This year could be even more significant with the construction of a new casino in Cedar Rapids, as experts predict it will increase revenue generation by $50 million.


The Midwest Is Expanding Its Gaming Industry

Iowa is one of the most prominent gambling destinations in the Midwest. However, it is not the only state with many regulated gaming choices. In fact, the Midwest has become one of the best thriving gambling industries in the U.S.

Illinois is another state with a thriving gambling industry. Besides the profitable casinos, there is sports betting. Moreover, Chicago expects to have its first casino soon.

Ohio has also approved more casinos to operate. Last year, it also approved its first sportsbook, which went live the same year. Generally, the Midwest region is becoming a booming gambling hub.

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