Iowa District Court Judge Robert Hanson handed down a ruling on Monday denying an injunction sought by Belle of Sioux City against the Missouri River Historical Development. That would have prevented MRHD from participating in the Hard Rock Casino Sioux City project.
In the litigation, Belle, the riverboat casino, sought an injunction blocking MRHD from moving forward with Sioux City Entertainment to develop the Hard Rock Casino Sioux City in downtown Sioux City. Specifically, Belle's petition sought to restrict MRHD from submitting an application to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission the competitive application process that the IRGC is currently administering for a land-based casino in Woodbury County, Iowa.
The ruling clears the way for MRHD and SCE to submit to the IRGC their proposal for Hard Rock Casino Sioux City, a $100-million development that would provide more than 500 permanent jobs and a variety of economic benefits to the Sioux City area. In addition to denying Belle's request for an injunction, the court also granted SCE's motion to intervene on MRHD's side in the litigation, which Belle also contested at last week's hearing.
In June of 2012, the IRGC opened the licensing procedure for a land-based casino in Woodbury County to a competitive application process, which would allow third parties to compete with Belle and Penn for the land-based license. In July of 2012, the IRGC denied approval of a requested extension of Belle's exclusive rights to operate gaming in Woodbury County. The extension once again failed to receive approval at the IRGC's August meeting.
In September, Belle filed its lawsuit against MRHD in Iowa district court in Polk County, asking the court to declare that MRHD is still bound to deal exclusively with Belle. Situated in Sioux City's Downtown District on the site of the Battery Building, the Hard Rock Casino Sioux City project is anticipated to bring more than 500 permanent jobs to Sioux City, and serve as an important entertainment and tourism amenity. The project has been received with strong statements of support from the Sioux City community.
HURRICANE SANDY HAS PROMPTED THE IOWA RACING AND GAMING COMMISSION TO EXTEND THE APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR A NEW WOODBURY COUNTY CASINO UNTIL 2PM ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH.
COMMISSION SECRETARY JULIE HERRICK SAYS THE COMMISSION IS COMMITTED TO A FAIR PROCESS, AND IT HAS BECOME EVIDENT THAT THE IMPACT OF THE STORM WILL INTERFERE WITH THE RECEIPT OF DOCUMENTS FROM SOME OR ALL POTENTIAL APPLICANTS.
ONE OF THOSE, APPLICANTS, MISSOURI RIVER HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT, WHO IS PARTNERING WITH SIOUX CITY ENTERTAINMENT TO BUILD A HARD ROCK CASINO AND HOTEL, WILL MEET TUESDAY EVENING IN SIOUX CITY.
THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS NOVEMBER 1ST.