Lyon Co. casino supporters confident proposal will go through - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Lyon Co. casino supporters confident proposal will go through


LYON COUNTY, Iowa (KTIV) -- The decision to put a casino in Lyon County is less than two months away, and Tuesday, casino supporters made one of their final pitches to state officials.

The proposed casino and resort complex would be built near Larchwood, and that's why Kehl Management -- the company backing the project -- says its proposal will go through.

Tama, Wapello, and Webster counties are also trying to obtain a license from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. All four presented their proposals to the commission Tuesday in Johnston.

However, Lyon County Casino CEO Dan Kehl says the three other locations are too close to established Iowa casinos and will drain their revenues.

"Lyon County is the last underserved market in the state, as far as bringing 81% of the revenues come from out of state. It has a very minimal impact on any other casino licenses in Iowa," Kehl said.

Kehl says that's one of many reasons he's confident the Lyon County casino will go through. He says it'll not only bring more than 700 new jobs to the area, it will also bring lots of money.

In the first five years, he says the state will collect $95 million in sales taxes and property taxes, while Lyon County will collect $23 million.

Even though the state's casino revenue slumped in 2009, in its first year, the complex, which would also include a hotel, spa, and golf course, is expected to generate a total of $80 million in gaming and non-gaming revenue.

Kehl says, "The quality of the facility that we're building will ensure its success over the long term for good economic times and difficult economic times."

Kehl says the commission seems interested in their proposal, but there are a few more steps before it makes a decision.

On April 14, state officials will visit the Larchwood site. Then, on May 4, casino supporters will be back in Johnston to answer any last questions. May 13 is the final decision.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission can issue as few or as many licenses as it wants, so it's possible officials will accept every proposal or reject them all.

Online Reporter: Zach Tecklenburg

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