The Clarke County Development Corporation asked the Racing and Gaming Commission once again Thursday to require the operators of the Lakeside Casino in Osceola to increase the amount of the charitable contribution they pay the non-profit group. The group’s lawyer, Doug Gross, made the appeal during the license renewal process.
He told the commission Affinity Gaming is having all kinds of problems right now, including a lawsuit. “Their largest shareholder is accusing them of looting the company, of engaging in an effort to try to change the structure of the company in order to avoid shareholder rights,” Gross says.
Gross says Affinity treated the Clarke County Development Corporation in the same way it has its shareholders when the company filed bankruptcy in order to avoid paying them more for charity.
“And when the bankruptcy court acted, they specifically said that their action was subject to the jurisdiction of this commission, the Racing and Gaming Commission,” Gross says. “And the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission under your criteria, you are obligated to take a look at what is the community benefit when you get a license or you grant a renewal of a license. And when a for-profit is not providing that community with a least the state minimum of three-percent — there’s a real question as to whether or not they are benefiting the community sufficiently.”
The non-profit is currently being paid 1.5 percent of the profits for charity. Racing and Gaming Commission chair, Jeff Lamberti, told Gross the commission is aware of the legal action against Affinity and the ongoing bankruptcy action. He said that is the reason they have decided to not take any action at this point.
“We’ve got at least rumors I guess of of potential sales and various other items going on. And that’s what would also lead me to believe that now is not the time for us to get involved beyond simply approving the license renewal,” Lamberti said.
He said the commission wants to see how the legal action and other issues shake out. The commission then voted to approve the license renewal for Lakeside.