The company that runs the casino riverboat in Sioux City, but lost its bid to build the new land-based casino, is taking more legal action. Penn Gaming has filed a petition in Polk County District Court asking the court appoint a third party “receiver” to hold or distribute the revenues the Argosy is generating while still in operation instead of turning those funds over to the non-profit Missouri River Historical Development or MRHD.
The board chairman of MRHD, Mark Monson, says Penn’s latest action goes against what the state gaming commission has already ordered. “We are disappointed that Penn is jeopardizing the continued operation of the Bell of Sioux City by not making the statutory minimum payment required to be paid to MHRD under the statute. The IRGC has extended our license by operation of law and accordingly, the statuary is till required to be paid to the qualified sponsoring organization that holds the license,” Monson says.
He says MRHD will likely have to file a response to the petition. “The IRGC has complete authority concerning what payments are required to be made to us so that we can appropriately administer the statutory fee, therefore as a licensee, we will wait for the direction from the Racing and Gaming Commission,” Monson says.
Penn and MRHD have been in an ongoing dispute about whether they have a valid contract to work together, and it was that dispute that eventually led the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to throw open up the process for bids for the new land-based casino. That dispute goes to court in April of next year.
A Penn Gaming spokesman said in a statement that the company wants the revenues to go to the community as intended, and not to MHRD’s legal war chest, or to help the organization and its new partner for the land-based casino.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City