The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has unanimously voted to open up an application process to any companies that would build a new, land-based casino in Sioux City or Woodbury County.
Commissioner Jeff Lamberti (lam-BER-tee) says it seems the best way to resolve uncertainty the working relationship between Penn Gaming, the existing, riverboat casino operator and MRHD, the non-profit that holds the gaming license for the Argosy Riverboat Casino.
State law requires a casino operator to sign an agreement with a non-profit group that would hold a casino license. That working relationship between Penn Gaming and MRHD has deteriorated to the point where the non-profit sued Penn Gaming because Penn threatened to sue any other casino operator that would consider building a casino in Sioux City.
Mark Monson is president of Missouri River Historic Development:
The commission also voted to extend the operating license for the existing casino until March 31st of 2013. The license was set to expire in a month.
Karen Bailey, director of public affairs for Penn Gaming says the company will "consider the extension."
Bailey won't rule out the possibility the boat might close when the existing license expires, but she says the company's "first priority" is to keep it open.
Kay Henderson Radio Iowa