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Analyst says CB, Sioux City casinos will survive new gambling in Nebraska


January 14th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – An expert who studied the Iowa gambling market says the state-licensed casinos in Council Bluffs and Sioux City are going to feel a big impact as Nebraska’s casinos ramp up — but says they will weather the storm. Matt Rowe of Spectrum Gaming Group says there will be some adjustments.

“It will be a significant blow to them. They may reduce employment, they may reduce the size of their gaming floors because there’s only so much capacity in the market. But they’ll be okay. They’re still solid properties, there’s still a good amount of revenue that they will be generating,” Rowe says. He says the Iowa casinos have some advantages in resources.

“You have to remember that the casinos that are here in Iowa — particularly in the Council Bluffs market — are national chain casinos. They’ve got properties everywhere from Maine to Albuquerque and Las Vegas and Atlantic City, so there are many opportunities for them to cross-market,” according to Rowe. He says they can offer promotions for their properties outside of Iowa while the Nebraska casinos don’t have as many options.

“If you earn points at casino Council Bluffs, you can redeem them at a casino in Las Vegas. If you earn points at a Warhorse casino in Lincoln — you can redeem them at a Warhorse casino in Columbus (Nebraska)? It’s just a different level of competition,” he says. He says the same thing applies in Sioux City, which is a Hard Rock casino.

The Council Bluffs market is currently Iowa’s largest in terms of revenue. Projections are that the Council Bluffs casinos could lose 45 percent of their market to new Nebraska competition. The report estimates Sioux City’s Hard Rock casino could see a loss of 50 million dollars in adjusted gross revenue.