With another attempt on the November 2 Linn County ballot to bring a casino to Cedar Rapids, whatever limited chance there was maybe hindered yet again by news of four Iowa casinos being fined for "violations involving minors".
This is why we can't have nice things
Four casinos in the state are being charged a combined $130,000. Starting with Catfish Bend in Burlington, Radio Iowa says that according to an administrator with the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (you know, the entity that holds the fate of our potential casino in its collective hands), an underage patron entered this casino and was given free rein for 47 minutes. "He entered the casino floor unchallenged, was on the floor for 47 minutes. It was not discernable whether the individual had gambled — pulled a ticket out of the machine, and based on a preponderance of the evidence, we felt the individual did gamble", said Brian Ohorilko. Catfish Bend is going to pay $30,000 for this violation, $10k more than the usual fine for such, because of their lack of surveillance and the age of the minor making it more challenging to determine the severity of the violation.
Next up: Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs
Two underage violations were found here, costing Horseshoe $60,000. A minor female who had entered with an adult was caught using slot machines undetected after 30 minutes. In the second violation a few months later, a 17-year-old entered the casino floor and gambled for five hours before action was taken.
Prairie Meadows major facing fines
An underage male got onto the floor, with two adults, and gambled unchallenged for 60 minutes before security noticed.
Finally, a casino in Northwood will also pay $20,000 after a minor was allowed on the floor to gamble for 60 minutes unchallenged.
Each violation took place within the last 365 days, and as a reminder, the Iowa Racing and Commission was involved in determining the penalties for the violations. In a week or so, they decide yet again if we should get our casino. With these recent infractions likely to leave a bad taste in the committee's mouth this close to that vote, now we have a new obstacle. Casino backers in Linn County should hope that officials can at the very least ensure the security will be shored up to avoid these violations.