The fight over whether the land-based casino in Sioux City should be allowed to go ahead continued in Polk County District Court Thursday. Originally, the district court ruled in favor of the operators of the Belle of Sioux City riverboat casino blocking the new license, but the Iowa Supreme Court stayed that stay on the license and ordered the district court to make a decision on the issue now. Attorney Guy Cook represents Sioux City Entertainment, which is building a Hard Rock Casino near the downtown area. Cook told the judge Belle officials gave up their chance to run the casino when they couldn’t get a new agreement with their nonprofit group.
:08 THE BELLE
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission opened up the competition for the land-based casino license after the Belle operators couldn’t reach an agreement with the non-profit Missouri River Historical Development (MHRD).
:19 THE AGENCY ACTION
He says Sioux City Entertainment went ahead with their plans because they were legally granted a license for the land-based casino. Cook says if the judge agrees to uphold the stay on the license, S-C-E faces irreparable harm.
:21 PROJECT COLLAPSES
Mark Weinhardt represented the Bell operators. He says S-C-E was aware that the Belle believed the license process was not legal and decided to take the risk.
:18 THE PROCESS (X2)
Weinhardt says S-C-E continued to work on the agreements to move the new casino forward even as the legal actions continued.
:16 BREAK GROUND
He says the building on the new casino continued even after the original ruling stayed the license. Weinhardt says that was S-C-E’s strategy.
:28 MESS WITH THAT
The arguments before judge Eliza Ovrum took over three hours. The lawyers have to file briefs on those arguments by February fifth. The Iowa Supreme Court has given Overum until February 15th to rule on whether to stay the license until the issue is worked out in court, or allow S-C-E to continue work.