Sioux City will soon have a glowing 30-foot electric guitar added to its skyline after the Racing and Gaming Commission voted 3-2 today in their meeting in Council Bluffs to award a license for a new land-based casino to the group that proposed a Hard Rock Casino in the downtown area.
Bill Warner, is the head of Sioux City Entertainment, which won out over three other proposals. Warner says they’ll get to work quickly on building the casino on the city’s west end.
“We began the design process in advance of this, hopeful that we would get this outcome. So, our intent is to begin right away with getting the site ready for construction,” he says. “Our intent is to begin construction in the summertime and finish by summer of next year.”
The vote also means that Missouri River Historical Development (MHRD) will continue to hold the non-profit license for the casino, as it has for the Argosy Riverboat Casino that’ll be replaced. MHRD board president, Mark Monson talked about winning the new license after the vote.
“Happy, MHRD has a lot of work to do. We have about a year or so to develop a plan to become involved in the development of the Woodbury County area. We have some suggestions for our board that we will have to consider,” Monson says. Under Iowa gambling law, the nonprofit holds a license to conduct gambling games, while the operator holds a license to operate the casino gambling structure or boat.
Two of the commissioners took Monson and the MHRD board to task for the deterioration of their relationship with riverboat operator Penn Gaming. The deterioration of that relationship led the board to open up the license process for the land-based casino. Penn did submit a proposal for the land-based casino, but lost out to the Hard Rock proposal.
The commission set a timeline of March 15th to have the casino open.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City