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3/16/2009

Iowa’s Commercial Casinos Increase Ag Commodity Purchases

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Despite Challenging Economy, Buy Iowa First Reaches 92%A Record High – Iowa’s state-regulated and licensed casinos are saluting National Agriculture Week, March 15-21, by highlighting the considerable quantities of agricultural products they serve to patrons annually.  Even during these challenging economic times, the 17 members of the Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) are significant purchasers of agricultural commodities such as beef, pork, poultry, eggs, milk and produce.  Records show that in 2008 Iowa’s casinos experienced increases in each category serving over 2.2 million pounds of beef, nearly 1. 9 million pounds of poultry, more than 1.2 million pounds of pork, nearly 6.4 million eggs, and over 203,500 gallons of milk.

“We appreciate the many essential resources provided by farmers and the significant contribution of the agricultural industry.  National Agriculture Day on March 20th is a perfect time to pause and salute the farmer and all those who are working hard to continue to provide high quality products within the agricultural industry,” said IGA President Wes Ehrecke. “Iowa farmers and Iowa agriculture are a vital link to the economic success of our state and are more important than ever in helping to feed people across the nation and world,” he added.

Many of these agricultural products were purchased in Iowa and are examples of the industry’s Buy Iowa First program.  Collectively the 17 casinos purchased 92% in eligible products and services from Iowa-based companies in 2008 totaling nearly $294 million; that percentage represents the highest level ever for the program.   The impact of Iowa’s commercially licensed casinos continues to be strong in the state.  According to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s (IRGC) economic impact report the casinos contributed over $1 billion dollars to the Iowa economy last year.

In addition to the Buy Iowa First figure, the IRGC report includes employee wages and benefits (over $280 million); taxes paid (nearly $379 million); and charitable contributions and donations (over $83 million).

Collectively, the casinos are the state’s largest tourist attractions. Over 23.6 million people annually visit Iowa’s casinos, which provide a high quality, fun, entertainment experience for their guests, including offering a wide range of quality dining options, shows, and other amenities. 

For more information, please call Wes Ehrecke, President of the IGA.  His phone number is (515) 267-9200.  The fax number is (515) 267-9300.  You also can reach Wes by e-mail, wese@iowagaming.org or visit the IGA’s website at www.iowagaming.org. 

The IGA is an advocate for its members acting as a viable part of the state’s economy and adding value to the entertainment and tourism industry.  The IGA’s members are: Ameristar Casino Hotel - Council Bluffs; Argosy Casino - Sioux City; Catfish Bend Casino - Burlington; Diamond Jo Casino - Dubuque; Diamond Jo Worth Casino - Northwood; Harrah’s Casino Hotel - Council Bluffs; Horseshoe Casino & Bluffs Run Greyhound Park - Council Bluffs; Isle of Capri Casino - Bettendorf; Isle of Capri Casino - Waterloo; Lady Luck Casino - Marquette; Mystique - Dubuque;  Prairie Meadows - Altoona; Riverside Casino and Golf Resort - Riverside;  Rhythm City Casino -  Davenport.; Terrible’s Lakeside Casino - Osceola; Wild Rose Casino - Clinton; and Wild Rose Casino - Emmetsburg.

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