The riverboat casino in Sioux City that’s been closed for two months will be leaving its Sioux City dock soon. The former “Argosy Belle” and its two barges have been purchased by Illinois-based Mike’s Incorporated. Penn National Gaming, the parent company that owns the riverboat, had been given a September 28th deadline to move it, but Penn executives told city officials high river levels and other factors delayed the move.
Bob Padmore, the city manager for Sioux City, says Penn National Gaming was to pay $7,500 for each month the boat removal deadline was missed. “The provision in the lease that following their closure, as long as they stayed on the riverfront, they would continue to pay a lease payment,” Padmore says.
Penn Gaming did not respond to inquiries regarding the sale. The boat is expected to sail down the Missouri River sometime this week, bound for Wood River, Illinois, where it will be sold again or broken down for salvage. Padmore says Sioux City’s city council will study what to do next with the riverfront property where the boat has been docked.
“I believe there’ll be a capital improvement plan project and it’ll be discussed during budget process and the decision they have for that area,” Padmore says, “but no immediate plans for any major changes.” After a dispute between Penn National Gaming and the Sioux City-based non-profit group that held the casino license, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission in 2012 opened bidding for a new land-based casino license for the Sioux City market.
The new Hard Rock Sioux City opened in August. Penn National went to court to try to block the commission’s order to close the Argosy riverboat casino.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)