Companies try to "wow" state gaming regulators during Sioux City - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Companies try to "wow" state gaming regulators during Sioux City site visit


Before the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission votes on one of the four casino proposals, the commissioners visited each of the sites.

As the IRGC visited each of the proposed four casino sites, they were meet with different atmospheres. From a concert-type atmosphere, to an intimate conversation, casino operators did what they could to "wow" the commissioners.

With all the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood premiere, the five IRGC commissioners are ushered into a party on the site of Penn National's downtown location. Penn National Gaming employees turned an empty store front into a colorful casino to show what either of their two proposals would look like. "Look at everything we've put into this we've put in over 1,000 man hours into this site alone," said Lance George, Argosy Casino GM. "I hope that actions speak louder than words."

At the party, and earlier in rural Salix, Iowa, Penn gave the commissioners reasons why they should pick one of their casino plans. "We believe it's the best brand from a regional perspective we are the largest national gaming operator," said Karen Bailey, Penn National Gaming. "Penn's "Hollywood" is our premier brand we know what that market wants and what our customers want and hollywood is exactly it."

The commissioners got up close and personal with Ho-Chunk officials at the Orpheum Theatre. "We thought having a nice classy event where you can sit down, get the information, ask the questions you want, get to know us a little bit better, was really going to be the best approach," said Lance Morgan, Ho-Chunk, Inc. CEO.

Morgan pitched Ho-Chunk's plan to restore the old Warrior Hotel and Davidson Building into a $122-million entertainment complex. He touts how Ho-Chunk would revitalize downtown, and the money would stay local. "It's going to be a fantastic place to visit and its really going to put sioux city on the map," Morgan said. "I think we don't necessarily want to be like anyone else, we can be very Sioux City unique in this project and it's something we can all take some pride in."

It was an entrance fit for a rock star at the proposed Hard Rock Casino-Hotel site. Commissioners toured the Battery Building to get the look and feel for how a $118-million casino and hotel would fit. "We did some little vignettes to help them understand the amenities that we're looking at bringing to the property to so give them something to touch and feel," said Bill Warner, Sioux City Entertainment.

They say their big name would attract big dollars to town. "Overall regional entertainment destination is the package that is going to generate the best results." Warner said.

The casino operators say public support is very important to help the commissioners make a decision.

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