Gambling Expansion In Nebraska Leaves Iowa Officials Nervous
With the western-most part of Iowa being a hotbed for gambling for years with 4 casinos in Council Bluffs alone, along with those in Sloan, Onawa, and Sioux City, the state's gaming commission has never been more concerned than now, as it's been reported according to CBS2, about the state of the industry in Iowa. It's reported that new casino facilities in Omaha and Lincoln are about to turn Eastern Nebraska into a huge gambling contender.
The Iowa casinos are concerned because of the rebuilding still going on due to the Coronavirus and the thinly-spread proximity between facilities already in place.
About two-thirds of Nebraska voters approved constitutional amendments last week to approve gambling and allow casinos at racetracks, also expressing interest in having them ready to open as soon as possible with other attached amenities including hotels and restaurants.
Prairie Meadows racetrack officials say, on the other hand, they are not concerned about the effect of Nebraska gambling expansion on their Altoona operation. If anything, they think it could help. Prairie Meadows General Manager Gary Palmer says it could increase the popularity and circulation of the declining horse-racing industry, in terms of both spectators/gamblers and participants and trainers.
All in all, $500 million in annual spending at gambling facilities could be swept out of Iowa with the expansion of gambling in Nebraska, says Michael Newlin, owner of horse-racing parks in his own right in Lincoln and Omaha. That's obviously what has Iowa operators most on-edge.
The effects on Western Iowa casinos are obvious, but what isn't yet known is how Eastern Iowa's casino industry might feel the heat.