UPDATE: Penn and MRHD hopeful Argosy will stay open, jobs safe for now
Aug 23, 2012 4:17 PM
By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
The IRGC says the Argosy can operate, the license does not expire, and it can remain open for the time being.
RIVERSIDE, Iowa (KTIV) -
The Argosy's more than 325 jobs are safe for now. But the ultimate fate of those jobs is still up in the air.
Argosy's non-profit, Missouri River Historical Development, and operator, Penn National Gaming, couldn't come to a new contract agreement about their casino boat. That put them in uncharted territory.
"Where does this leave us. We do not have an agreed upon extension agreement, that means we do not have an effective operating agreement," said Iowa Racing and Gaming Commissioner Greg Seyfer.
Without it, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission questions whether the Argosy's gaming license is still valid.
"At this point we're not sure what the impact of not having a an operating agreement signed and approved by the commission, what does that mean," said IRGC Administrator, Brian Ohorilko.
Ohorilko says it'll take time to figure things out. He says the IRGC will have to confer with legal council, and may end up scheduling a hearing to pull the license. But, he says until then, the boat will stay afloat.
"In the mean time the facility can operate, the license does not expire, the facility can remain open," said Ohorilko.
Penn National is disappointed the situation is still unresolved, but it is looking forward.
"We certainly hope we continue to operate as we sort through all the different alternatives. That we, as a group, can find resolution to all of this," said Penn National Gaming's Director of Public Affairs Karen Bailey.
MRHD President Mark Monson sounded much more confident. Saying the IRGC wouldn't strip the "boat's" gaming license.
What will happen next is unknown. But the IRGC says they'll discuss the issue further at their next meeting in Dubuque on Sept. 27. In the mean time, the IRGC is still taking applications for that new gambling license in Woodbury County. The deadline for them is Nov. 1st. The IRGC will then award it in April.
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