Developer picked for proposed Cedar Rapids casino

Jul 29, 2013 9:54 AM

A developer has been chosen for the proposed casino in Cedar Rapids.

Officials said Sunday that JNB Gaming will develop the casino and manage operations if Linn County receives a casino license.

JNB Gaming is a new firm created by three casino industry veterans who all worked at Peninsula Gaming before it was sold last year. JNB includes Jonathan Swain, Natalie Schramm and Brett Stevens.

Steve Gray, lead investor for the Cedar Rapids group, said the JNB team shares the local group’s vision for revitalizing the city’s downtown and riverfront area.

“They have a proven track record of developing and operating casinos that have become community centers and have led the industry in growth,” Gray said.

Linn County voters approved the idea of gambling in Cedar Rapids earlier this year, but the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission still must approve a license for the operation.

The Linn County group plans to apply to the state commission in September.

Critics of the Cedar Rapids plan say a new casino will siphon business from the casino in Riverside, 35 miles south of Cedar Rapids, and others in Waterloo, Dubuque and Tama.

Iowa currently has 18 state-regulated casinos and three Native American casinos not regulated by the commission.

The commission is beginning a study of the gambling market in Iowa to determine how many more casinos could be supported in the state.

That study is expected to be completed early next year.

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