All 17 casinos currently operating in Iowa were once again approved by voters in the last election. Nearly 10,000 people are employed by Iowa’s casinos. Iowa law requires that every eight years casinos seek approval from the voters in the county in which the casino is located. Ratification takes a simple majority. Although no casinos currently exist in Jackson, Wapello, and Webster counties, the question was on the ballot so that, if approved, a gambling license could possibly be obtained in the future. The measure passed in Jackson and Webster counties, but failed in Wapello. The measure also passed in Lee County despite the fact that the riverboat casino closed in 2007.
In other casino news, the Polk County Board of Supervisors have granted a request to build a $27 million hotel at Prairie Meadows. The plan to build a hotel has long been in the works, but needed to wait for the official vote on the gambling referendum in Polk County. The measure passed in Polk County with about 74% of residents voting in favor of the casino. The hotel is expected to be a Hilton Garden Inn and will likely open sometime in 2012.