Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission: Game Over In Sioux City, Cedar Rapids

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has rejected a Sioux City riverboat casino's challenge to renew its gaming license and set July 1st as the deadline for the gambling boat to shut down.

Penn National Gaming, the parent company of the Argosy riverboat casino, had challenged the commission's decision last year to reject a one-year license renewal. The commission said it had issue with the Argosy's dissolving partnership with a nonprofit group.

Iowa's casino gambling laws require casino operators to partner with licensed nonprofit groups that hold the license. Argosy's operating agreement with its long-standing nonprofit, Missouri River Historical Development, expired in July 2012.

Following the commission's decision Thursday, Penn National officials released a statement saying they were "beyond dismayed" by the decision.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission also rejected a proposed $164 million Cedar Rapids casino, saying it would hurt existing casinos. Supporters of the Cedar Crossing Casino development have said it would give an economic boost to Cedar Rapids and the region. They also argued it would be a catalyst for development in an area ravaged by a 2008 flood, create jobs and generate millions for tax revenue and charities.

But representatives of casinos in Riverside, Dubuque and Waterloo fought the plan, saying it would take business away from them.

The five-member commission, meeting in Council Bluffs, voted 4-1 against the new casino. The panel hasn't approved a new casino license since 2010 when it called for a three-to-five-year moratorium due to concerns about market saturation.


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