Letter: Casino revenues are shared statewide

Regarding Bert Graham’s Oct. 28 letter “Bring a smoke-free casino to Cedar Rapids”:

In the letter, Graham stated “a Cedar Rapids casino could keep and return to the community what has been taken away for years.” He is apparently unaware the Linn County Endowment Fund and the other 85 counties that don’t have a casino share in state revenue from the casinos. Since 2004, the County Endowment Fund Program has been funded at a rate of eight-tenths of one percent (0.8 percent) of the gaming tax revenue. In 2013, the County Endowment Fund Program resulted in over 2,144 grant awards totaling $8,279,041.

Linn County made grants to the Area Substance Abuse Council, Iowa College Access Network, Iowa Legal Aid, Linn County Fair, Old Opera House Community Arts Council, Workplace Learning Connection, and Young Parents Network. To see Linn County’s share, go to iowagaming.org. Programs that benefit residents in Johnson and Linn counties can apply for grants from the Riverside Casino’s local grant program.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has been consistent in the placement of gaming licenses. If Cedar Rapids had approved and built a casino before Riverside then they wouldn’t have gotten a license. In fact, Linn County said no to casinos twice and only voted yes after the others had been built to serve the area. The gaming commission is following what it has done since it started. There is no reason to treat Cedar Rapids different.

William Ashby

Clermont

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