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Final Casino Pitch
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (FOX28/CBS2) An emotional plea and a virtual tour of the Cedar Crossing Casino highlighted Cedar Rapids final pitch for a gambling license before the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. City leaders say they had waited three years to make the presentation at the Double Tree Thursday morning.
It caps a long process of winning support from the community, choosing a site and lining up investors to back the project. Hundreds of people dressed in white shirts to show unity, watched as Developer Steve Gray took them on a tour of classy card parlors, spacious slot rooms and fine dining halls.
Supporters told the commission members it will mean jobs, tourism and even more development if they grant approval. Mayor Ron Corbett says they didnt hold anything back, I think it was really critical to have that community support, it was a long day and we left it all on the field today and now its up to the commission.
But the gaming commission also saw opponents. Some held signs on the street reading Gambling is a sin. Others were bussed in from Riverside Casino near Iowa City. Employee Desteni Moyle says Cedar Crossing would steal customers and jobs from Riverside, If you bring a casino here, youre going to ruin some of the lives there and take away from our jobs.
But Cedar Rapids leaders countered by reminding commissioners of the struggle here and the jobs lost following the 2008 flood. Mayor Corbett says the most critical part of a bus tour, was showing commissioners the incredible rebuilding progress since the flood, but also the incredible amount of work still to be done in neighborhoods on the west side.
Corbett says critics actually proved how much a casino would help,
They were talking about all the benefits the casino has brought to their towns, so it was difficult for them to argue that Cedar Rapids shouldnt have the same benefits.
There are five members on the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, three yes votes would be needed April 17th for Cedar Rapids to be granted a gambling license.