The non-profit group that holds the license to the Argosy Riverboat Casino met in closed session Monday evening, but did not take any action the future of the casino. The Missouri River Historical Development (MHRD) board has been deadlocked with boat owner and operator Penn National Gaming over a new operating agreement and the construction of a land-based casino.
Penn offered to accept an extension of the agreement with MHRD Friday, one day after the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted to let new non-profit groups and casino companies apply to build a land-based casino in Woodbury County. MHRD chairman, Mark Monson, said last night the board decided it could not act on Penn’s request for the extension because of the Racing and Gaming decision.
“We took no motion tonight, no action. It’s in the hands of Iowa Racing and Gaming and we will do whatever needs to be done with them to move forward,” Monson said. The license for the riverboat was set to expire July seventh, but the Racing and Gaming Commission voted to extend the operating license through March 31st of 2013. Around 50 employees of the casino boat showed up at the meeting Monday to ask MHRD to save their jobs. Riverboat compliance manager, Tasha Barker, spoke for the group.
“We stand here tonight to ask you to consider us in your decision-making process. That you will consider what Siouxland needs at this time, but mostly what we need, our jobs, benefits, security,” Barker said. Barker said it has been a long year for employees as they’ve been scared about the stalled talks between MHRD and Penn Gaming. Monson says they are aware of the possible impact on the casino’s 325 employees.
“We are very concerned about the employees and their welfare and we hope that we are doing everything that we can to keep them employed and going in the situation they’re in,” Monson said. The Racing and Gaming Commission will next meet on July 12th
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City