The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 18, 2014

Wild Rose avoids another distraction

Several casino operators in the state of Iowa breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to reject a casino in Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids is close enough to have a possible effect on Wild Rose Casino and Resort in Clinton. It might not be a major impact, but possibly enough for one of the city’s entertainment options to feel an extra pinch, which seems to be growing each year.

With a planned casino on Interstate 80 in Davenport and video gaming in Illinois, the Wild Rose has enough distractions that it didn’t need another one only 85 miles away.

And it’s good for the state of Iowa to stop itself from developing another casino. The report developed examining the Cedar Rapids casino explained what many in Iowa already know — the casino industry is cannibalizing off other casinos.

New gamblers won’t be the only ones to attend a new casino. A new development would take away from other casinos, thus creating lost jobs, lost revenues and lost monies available to non-profits.

With an extra casino reporting revenues to the state commission in fiscal year 2011, the state’s 18 reporting casinos netted $1.38 billion in revenues. That’s a lot, no matter what we’re talking about.

But those revenues have tapered off. In fiscal year 2013, revenues were down and that will likely be the trend in fiscal year 2014.

Since recording more than $40 million in revenue in fiscal year 2011, revenues have declined the past two years at Wild Rose, and through March, the casino has registered more than $24 million in revenues.

If that pace continues, it will be three consecutive years of decreased revenue.

And our area needs the casino. There is trouble that comes with a casino, like addiction to gambling, but I’m a big proponent of things to do, which is something a casino offers.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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