The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

December 11, 2013

Casino to share 5 percent revenue with nonprofits

DES MOINES — Supporters of a proposed Jefferson casino said Tuesday they have reached an agreement with the casino operator to share 5 percent of the revenue with charitable organizations in Green County and the surrounding area.

Officials with Grow Greene County Gaming Corp., the nonprofit applying for a gambling license, and Wild Rose Entertainment, the company planning to run the casino, detailed their operating agreement during interviews with The Associated Press ahead of a formal announcement.

Wild Rose CEO Tom Timmins said the Jefferson casino is expected to generate about $30 million a year, which would provide $1.5 million for charitable groups. The state requires casinos to share at least 3 percent of their revenue with charitable groups, though Iowa casinos average 4.1 percent.

Typically casinos distribute the money to projects and groups in the county in which the casino is based. But about 20 percent of the Jefferson casino’s charitable revenue would be shared with counties surrounding Greene.

Norm Fandel, president of Grow Greene County Gaming, said that because the casino is expected to employ residents from surrounding counties, those communities should share in some of the revenue.

“When you look at surrounding counties and the location to the nearest casinos, it really isn’t going to impact any of them that much,” Timmins said of the proposed casino in Jefferson. “It just seemed a perfect fit for us.”

The nearest casino is Prairie Meadows, a horse racing track and casino in Altoona, about 70 miles southeast of Jefferson. Emmetsburg’s casino, which also is operated by Wild Rose, is 90 miles to the north.

Timmins said Wild Rose has developed a business niche in running smaller casinos. In addition to the Emmetsburg operation, the company runs a casino in Clinton.

The casino and hotel has been projected to create enough jobs to equal 275 full-time positions.

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