The mayor of Sioux City says they are waiting to see what happens now that a judge has put a hold on the new license awarded to the group that’s building a Hard Rock Casino near the downtown area to replace the riverboat casino. Riverboat operator, Penn National Gaming, sued the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission after the commission awarded a license for the land-based casino to a different company.
Sioux City has committed $22-million to make improvements to the area where the new casino is under construction, but Mayor Bob Scott says there’s not a concern right now about that money. “The city’s not part of the lawsuit, the city really doesn’t have a dog in this fight if you will, other than we’ve committed money — which fortunately at this stage we haven’t spent,” Scott says.
The new casino was scheduled to be open in July, but the IRGC administrator says this case is not scheduled to be heard until December of next year. Scott hopes there will be a resolution sooner rather than later. Scott says he hopes it doesn’t take a year to resolve, as he believes there are some avenues of appeal. But until something happens, the mayor says the city will wait. “Listen, we’ve gone 25 years with a boat on the river and we’ve survived. And we’ll go another one or two depending on how long it takes to get this sorted out,” Scott says. “I think the one thing that was very clear with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, is the riverboats are coming off the river and they are going to be downtown facilities.”
The IRGC administrator says they are consulting with the Attorney General to determine their next step in the case.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)