The state Racing and Gaming Commission rejected another request today from the operators of the riverboat casino in Sioux City for an extension of their contract with the non-profit license holder Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD). The commission approved a one-year extension for Penn National Gaming in June, but Penn has refused to sign the agreement because they wanted a longer extension.

MRHD chairman, Mark Monson, says Penn brought the request for a longer term extension back up today. “And the commission rejected it again….we see this as good,” Monson says. The commission told MRHD and Penn that they want a land-based casino in Sioux City and they have opened up the license process for that new facility.

Monson says the action by the commission indicates they will keep the riverboat casino operating until the land-based casino is ready, which he says is good for the employees. “It will guarantee that they have employment. It may be for only a month at a time, but it does keep things up and running. We are pretty excited about making sure that does happen,” Monson says. “We have no ability or input on their employment, we are not their employer. It’s all a matter of Penn National keeping that thin up and running.”

There had been discussion that the casino could shut down if Penn did not sign the contract approved by the commission. Monson says the commission has shown not intent to do that. “They will keep it open…citing from the law on licensing. We basically are okay with what they did today,” Monson says.

Monson says the discussion lasted only five minutes.

By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City