Argosy Owner still plans to submit own proposal for casino - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Argosy Owner still plans to submit proposal for new casino without MRHD


Downtown Sioux City could be home to a Hard Rock Casino. The proposal was announced Wednesday evening at a meeting of Missouri River Historical Development.

The non-profit will partner with a group called Sioux City Entertainment to bring the Hard Rock Casino and potentially 500 jobs, to the century old Battery Building.

But, the company that operates the Argosy Casino says, "not so fast."

Penn National Gaming says it's still a player in the sweepstakes for a downtown casino.

A spokesperson for Penn National Gaming, which operates the Argosy Casino, says they first heard about the Hard Rock Casino proposal from the media.

"Well, we're certainly surprised by the recent announcement by MRHD with their partnership with Hard Rock given that we've presented a new proposal to them at their board meeting on September 27th and never heard a response from them, whether it was positive or negative," Karen Bailey, Director of Public Affairs for Penn National Gaming.

However, Bailey said Penn is still moving forward with plans to submit a proposal to build a land based casino. It needs to meet the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's November 1st deadline.

To have a gaming license in the state of Iowa, an operator must partner up with a non-profit QSO, or qualified sponsoring organization. Missouri River Historical Development and Penn currently have that arrangement.

Now, the question is who Penn National Gaming will partner with this time, if not MRHD. Bailey says there's a reason not to reveal who that is.

"Well, actually given the previous harassment that MRHD instilled upon the previous QSO that we announced, we'd actually to keep that information private at this time," Bailey said.

Bailey says members of MRHD called that QSO, asking them why they were getting involved. She said she's confident their own proposal will be seriously considered.

"At the end of the day we will have the stronger proposal, we have the stronger track record, we have the stronger balance sheet in order to serve Sioux City and the greater Woodbury County community," Bailey said.

Bailey said the Argosy's employees have nothing to worry about, at this time because Penn wants to preserve those 325 jobs.

Penn National Gaming is also still working with the IRGC and Iowa Courts to resolve their lawsuit against MRHD for breach of contract.

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