The move from a riverboat to a land-based casino in the Davenport continues to be anything but smooth sailing. The non-profit license holder — Scott County Riverboat Development Authority — has accepted a proposal from casino developer Dan Kehl to build the new facility on land. Davenport’s city council considers it’s share of that deal too small and is opening negotiations with another developer — Rodney Blackwell.
Davenport Mayor, Bill Gluba, says they been trying for years to get the operators of the riverboat casino to build on land. “The Isle of Capri agreed in about 2005 to build a casino in Davenport on the riverfront. They reneged under that agreement, that’s our contention. Now, the question is if we’re going to allow this sale to the Kehl Corporation or anyone else to take place, we want to talk about the damages we think we’re entitled to before we release them to build any kind of casino,” according to Gluba.
The Mayor says they don’t want to move ahead until they have all the issues solved to their satisfaction. “We will continue to negotiate with mister Kehl and try to work out some still outstanding issues — specifically the leases that go along with the purchase of the Rhythm City Casino — which of course the leases sit on city-owned property.”
The delay and the possibility that another developer has entered the picture frustrates State Racing and Gaming Chair, Jeff Lamberti. “We’re not quite sure what’s going to come before the commission anytime soon. We’re a little bit confused about what the next steps are,” Lamberti says. “We’ve been patient for awhile and I guess we’ll continue to be somewhat patient, but we just think it’s unfortunate for the whole area.”
Lamberti says the commission wants to see the Davenport casino moved to land to better compete with an Illinois casino across the river. “We are concerned about what’s going on in that whole market, and we certainly want to get to market with a land-based casino because we think it’s important to preserve and regain some of that market share. So litigation doesn’t seem to be a path that’s going to get us there anytime soon.”
Kehl was hoping to build the land-based casino on the north side of Davenport along Interstate 80.