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Gaming Commission Comes to Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Where the state commission that will decide whether a new casino will come to Linn County heard from the public for the final time.

At stake, millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs for Linn County that, opponents say will take away from other operations.

Before they heard from the public, members of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission toured the proposed sight as well as other parts of the city heavily impacted by the floods of '08.

"I think we need that after the floods of 2008, said Ray Johnston, a Cedar Rapids resident.

He says he is all for casino in the city of five seasons.

"Our lifeblood is actually younger people. We want to keep them here we want to give them a place to go whether it's gambling or entertainment, he said.

Then there's Desteni Moyle, an employee of riverside casino.

"If you bring a casino here, you're going to ruin some of the lives there, said Moyle.

The single mom says her life is one of them.

"If my job is taken away...I mean...I going to end up bankrupt...or whatever the case maybe, she said.

These are a few of the many faces who showed up at the double tree Thursday.

Some to support and cheer on the possibility of cedar crossing, others to voice their disapproval.

"Cutting jobs from riverside and surrounding areas will cause great damage to the families involved, said Dan Kehl, CEO of the Riverside Casino.

That's the main fear of all the dissenters. Losing the economic impact of their casino.

"I believe that the riverside casino has done wonderful things for rural communities and the rural economic development is very important to Iowa, said Jan Gallagher of Washington Iowa, but Cedar Rapids casino supporters urged the gaming commission to also consider the development of Cedar Rapids and how the casino will benefit the state.

"There's a net benefit to the state. The range is basically 21 million to 60 plus million of net new revenue, said Steve Gray, Casino Developer.

He spoke to the commission asking them to give Cedar Rapids a shot, something those wearing white shirts in this room are also hoping for.

"I think it could go either way. I don't think it they are going to vote against the Cedar Rapids deal because this is set up pretty well, said Tom Hanson, supporter of Cedar Rapids casino.

The racing and gaming commission is obviously the ones making the ultimate decision.

They heard about 50 comments today and will take it all into consideration when they vote on April 17th.

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