Greene County sets casino vote date

JEFFERSON – Greene County voters will head to the polls Aug. 6 to decide whether or not they want casino gambling in their midst.

Members of the Greene County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to set the date for a special election, said Auditor Jane Heun.

According to Heun, Aug. 6 was the first available date such an election could be held. State law stipulates the number of special elections a county may hold in a year as well as the dates on which they may be held.

Earlier this month, a petition calling for a vote was submitted to the county.

In all, the petition contained 690 valid signatures, said Heun – well over the 487-name threshold required to bring the issue to the voters.

Preliminary plans call for a casino to be located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and Iowa Highway 4 north of Jefferson. Wild Rose Entertainment, which operates casinos in Emmetsburg and Clinton, has expressed interest in the project.

On June 3, the supervisors voted unanimously to support the proposal.

Should voters approve the ballot measure, an application for a casino may be submitted to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

The state last approved a new casino in Lyon County in May 2010. At that time, four applications – including a proposal from Fort Dodge – were rejected.

However, the commission has pledged to undertake a new study to determine if Iowa can support more gaming facilities. Proposals from qualified vendors to conduct a market analysis on gaming in the state are currently being sought by the commission.