Des Moines Airport in Iowa might have just found a solution to its funding nightmare. As a result of the increased traffic through the airport, the Des Moines Airport Authority (DMAA) has been wishing to expand the airport to try and ease the congestion.
However, they have not been able to gather the necessary funds required to finance the new terminal, which would have tremendous economic benefits to the city. DMAA estimates a new terminal would cost not less than $500 million. Even after soliciting money from wherever they could think of, they still fall short of the target with $194 million.
But it seems they might have found a solution. This is after the Highway Development Group (HDG), approached the DMAA with a proposal to build a hotel and casino at the airport worth $225 million. According to the head of HDG, Reggie Sinha, the proposed project would generate $85 million for the airport annually.
According to one news piece by the CalvinAyre.com the writer notes that the HDG is not the first gambling operator to approach DMAA with a similar proposal, several other amazing proposals came up but for one reason or another didn’t go through. In fact, most the proposals didn’t see the light of the day before they were shot down. It appears the HDG has gotten favor where others did not.
Wild Rose Entertainment, which is part of the HDG, operates three gaming venues in the state of Iowa. Iowa has 23 gaming facilities of which 17 are commercial casinos, 2 are racinos and 4 are tribal casinos. One of these, the Prairie Meadows Racetrack, is owned and operated by Des Moines.
During a meeting last week, HDG presented its proposal to DMAA. The proposed hotel would have 350 rooms, a restaurant, a garden and venues for holding events. The hotel would be linked to the airport through a skywalk. There was not adequate time during the face time meeting, thus more will be discussed in the next meeting.
In the scenario DMAA finds the proposal worthwhile and accepts it, they will still have to seek licensing from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. This is where the challenge lies. Over the past several years, the commission has not been welcome to licensing new gambling venues in the state.
In 2014 and 2017, they turned down proposals for a new casino in Cedar Rapids, saying there were already too many casinos in the state. However, a gaming venue in Des Moines might receive a different approach.
Another obstacle in the proposal is that even if it is licensed, there is no guarantee the casino will bring forth the revenue it is expected to. This is partly because there has been a decline in the number of people going to physical casinos. The older generation might still find it cool to play on a slot machine but the younger generations prefer to gamble from their phones.