In hopes that the third time will be the charm for a Cedar Rapids casino vote, a prospective developer/operator is going "all in" by selling some of its existing Iowa assets.

Iowa developer sells casino to a worldwide entity

Churchill Downs and Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) have entered into an agreement that will see P2E selling control of Sioux City's Hard Rock Casino to Churchill Downs, the iconic group that owns and operates the world-famous Kentucky Derby. The sale of Hard Rock by P2E does not include a draft proposal by P2E for a Linn County Casino, but the Cedar Rapids Gazette states they would be at the top of the list to develop it if it were to happen.

P2E President Jonathan Swain says this sale indicates his group's commitment to bringing a casino to Cedar Rapids. Swain says he is also nearing "retirement" age and would like to make the Cedar Rapids casino his last and best project.

This is kind of our last project, and we're going to make it the best one. It's been a long process. We’re very patient, and we look forward to the opportunity, if granted the ability to apply by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Obstacles still in the way for a Cedar Rapids casino

It's been rejected twice before by the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission but with several new members on that commission, and an apparently strong commitment from new Cedar Rapids mayor Tiffany O'Donnell, casino backers are banking on their luck turning around.

A new location would also have to be determined. The downtown Cedar Rapids slot known as "First and First" was originally earmarked for a casino, but developers have moved on.

Next in line might be the location of the now-demolished former Cooper's Mill on F Ave. NW but, again, specifics weren't detailed in the sale of Hard Rock Sioux City.

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