The administrator of the State Racing and Gaming Commission says the Sioux City Argosy Riverboat Casino will continue running as it has despite the commission’s action today to reject the request from the boat’s operator for a longer-term operating agreement.
Penn National asked for an agreement extension through 2015 at the commission’s June meeting, but the commission only approved an extension through 2013, and Penn has refused to sign the new agreement.
It was thought the casino might be shut down without a signed agreement, but Racing and Gaming Administrator Brian Ohorilko says that won’t happen. “The licenses would not expire until the commission gets a chance to review the licenses with our assistant attorney general and our chairman, who was unable to attend the meeting,” according to Ohorillko.
“Those licenses are not going to expire until the agency is able to determine if any agency action is needed.” Penn National holds a license to operate the casino boat, while the non-profit Missouri River Historical Development (MHRD) holds the license to operate the gambling games in the casino.
“The commission needs to determine if because there isn’t an operating agreement how that affects the ability of the facility and the non-profit to remain licensed,” Ohorillko says. Penn National has filed suit to try and force the commission to give them a longer-term agreement and Ohorilko says that is also a factor.
He says Penn National could shut down the casino if they wanted to, but he says that is not something that has come up. “There hasn’t been any indication that they would do that, so really hasn’t been anything that we have been concerned with, at least at this point in time,” Ohorillko says.
Penn and MHRD have been fighting back and forth over the operating agreement for several months and that culminated in the commission deciding to open up the licensing process for a new land-based casino in Sioux City to anyone. The Racing and Gaming Commission met today at the Riverside Casino.