Hard Rock proposal gets new investor, Ho-Chunk files complaint
By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
A former Iowa casino executive is investing millions in the Hard Rock.
Brent Stevens used to be the Chairman of Peninsula Gaming, which operated two Diamond Joe casinos in Iowa. Stevens agreed to invest up to $35 million in the $118 million Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City project.
Officials say the deal between Stevens and Hard Rock developer Sioux City Entertainment was brokered in early January.
An Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission spokesperson says it was presented to them after last week's meeting, and is a convertible line of credit. It could beef up SCE's financing, which critics have attacked for relying on a $90 million loan with a 14% interest rate.
"Our goal has always been to drive down the cost of our financing. This is a great first step to that," said SCE President Bill Warner.
To get built, the Hard Rock proposal needs a gambling license from the IRGC, and there's a lot of competition for that certification. The commission is considering three other proposals; Penn National Gaming's two Hollywood style casinos, and Ho-Chunk, Inc.'s Warrior Casino and Hotel.
In fact, Ho-Chunk recently filed a formal objection with the IRGC over Sioux City Entertainment's new investment.
The letter claims the SCE's financing amendment violates the commission's licensing application process. Ho-Chunk says the information was filed 67 daysafter the November deadline. The company wants the IRGC to rule the amendment "untimely" and not consider it.
The gaming commission's administrator says the board has typically considered financing changes in the past, but not changes to size, scope, or location of the project.
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