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Sioux Falls Concerned About Iowa Casino

May 13, 2010, 6:02 PM by Erica Johnson

Sioux Falls Concerned About Iowa Casino
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Some in Sioux Falls aren't excited about the proposed casino set for Lyon County, Iowa.  They say it comes down to dollars and cents and all the revenue that won't stay in state.

While some argue the Iowa Casino will bring more visitors to the area, some say they won't open their wallets to Sioux Falls.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe had a study done last year, which found an estimated 72 percent of the casino's visitors will actually be from South Dakota, and those people are expected to spend $55 million there every year.

For those opposed to the casino, they're figures that have them concerned about how the South Dakota's largest city will fair.

One of the fastest growing cities in South Dakota is now looking at the possibility of losing business. That's upsetting for City Council Member Greg Jamison.

“I just think in this case, we failed.  The state failed to see an opportunity to keep and capture this revenue, protect the border so-to-speak. Iowa is at no fault.  They saw an opportunity so they'll bring it, build it and they'll come,” Jamison said.

Jamison expects the state to lose upwards of $60 million to Iowa and the new casino. Chrissy Spoo with the Sioux Empire Mall says that means local businesses, including stores in the mall, will have to battle to keep money coming through their doors.

“Anything that pulls people out of Sioux Falls and takes money out of the local businesses is probably not a good thing for Sioux Falls,” Spoo said.

Along with revenue, both say the competition to keep entertainment and events booked in Sioux Falls could also be a problem.

The concern is that the Lyon County Casino will also have a convention center. Critics say they are worried organizers will choose that venue with various forms of entertainment in one area over the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center.

Just as the city, businesses and state work to emerge from the recession, Jamison says they don't need another bump in the road working against them.

“In an economy where the state is struggling to fund itself, we don't need another hole like this,” Jamison said.

Jamison says while one positive effect the casino could have would be in job creation, he says that could eventually pull those employees to buy homes closer to work in Iowa.

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