State regulators have given the operators and the non-profit license holder of the Argosy Riverboat Casino in Sioux City a deadline to resolve their dispute over a long-term licensing agreement.

The nonprofit Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD) group has sued operator Penn National, saying Penn National is interfering with efforts to talk with prospective new operators that would lead to a land-based casino to replace the riverboat.

Penn says it has exclusive rights to negotiate in the Sioux City market. Mark Monson of MRHD says the Racing and Gaming Commission has given them a clear deadline to work something out.

“They want us to come back at the June meeting with a solution to our problems,” Monson says. “We’ve been talking with, and will continue talking with Penn, to see if we can resolve this. Monson says if they don’t come up with a plan to resolve the issue, one thing would happen.

“The boat would close,” Monson says. Monson says neither side wants to see the operation shut down and he has guarded optimism that the two sides will reach an agreement.

By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City