The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission voted unanimously to deny the renewal of the Argosy Casino's gaming licenses. It's a move that's already igniting more legal posturing.
In front of a standing room only audience inside a banquet room at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission voted unanimously to deny Argosy's license renewal.
To date, Argosy remains open under "operational law" allowing it to maintain several hundred jobs and a state revenue stream worth millions. "The fundamental issue is that there is no operating agreement that's been approved by the commission, uh, between Belle and MRHD so Belle, there are absent non profit operator which Iowa code requires to license holders for a gaming operation in the State," said Brian J. Ohorilko, Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission Administrator.
For now, the Argosy can continue to operate, allowing for employees to plan accordingly. And it's more than likely Belle will file an appeal allowing for its license to remain valid over the course of what could be long, legal proceedings. "We will be going to court, and we have been in court and we are in court and I expect, I think it's unfortunate, I think we can expect more from a governmental body than we're getting right now so we're going to have to go to court with them," said Chris Tayback, Penn National Gaming Attorney.
During Thursday's IRGC meeting, state regulators were also given a status report on construction and financing for the Hard Rock Casino project. Both are a go. "Absolutely," said Bill Warner, Sioux City Entertainment President & CEO. "As you can see work has already started on the sight.. uh, the financing getting done was just part of the process and we're moving forward with construction on the timeline we previously described."
When asked for reaction to the gaming commission's vote on the Argosy license, Warner said the Hard Rock is more focused on what it has to move forward. That includes Friday's ceremonial groundbreaking.