October 31, 2014

Iowa Supreme Court clears way for closure of Sioux City riverboat casino

The Iowa Supreme Court has denied a temporary stay that has allowed the Argosy Casino riverboat in Sioux City to stay open. The ruling by a three-judge panel ends the stay on Wednesday of next week. Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator, Brian Ohorilko. “The commission’s closure order will go into affect on the 30th at 5 p.m., that’s what we learned today and we are very pleased with the outcome,” Ohorilko says.

Karen Bailey, spokesperson for boat operator Penn National Gaming, issued a statement: “Suffice to say, we are deeply disappointed at today’s decision.”

Ohorilko says the boat close just one day before the new land-based Hard Rock casino opens August 1st. “It ends up working out well for the people of Sioux City who like to have that entertainment option available,” Ohorilko says. He says the commission has been working hard to test all the games and see that everything is ready for the Hard Rock to open on time.

Ohorilko says the ruling does not put an end to the legal proceedings. He says all the other judicial reviews on the issue that were consolidated will be heard in September. “This denial of the stay of the closure order does not impact any of those proceedings that the commission is still a party,” Ohorilko says.

Ohorilko says another issue still to be resolved is the money that Penn Gaming has withheld from the non-profit Missouri River Historical Development while the legal issues have been heard in court.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)