(SIOUX CITY, IA) - A week from Thursday we should know who'll be building a new casino in Woodbury County. That's when the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is scheduled to pick a winner during its meeting in Council Bluffs.Now, a new study takes a closer look at how each contender might perform. It was done by an independent gaming research company hired by Siouxland Initiative, the economic development arm of the Chamber of Commerce.
Wells Gaming of Reno, Nevada did the research for Siouxland Initiative. It looks at things like revenue, using TIF finances and accessibility to the casinos. According to the research, Hard Rock comes out on top." "The Hard Rock brand is going to pull people off the highway that wouldn't otherwise come off the highway. There are 15 million cars a year going past Sioux City. I think we've got a much better shot at them than the other guys do," said Bill Warner, President of Sioux City Entertainment. But revenue estimates from Wells show Hard Rock's prediction is $8,624,319 higher than Wells projects. "If we had sat down and talked to them and explained to them where we were seeing more opportunity from a revenue standpoint they may have agreed with that. I don't know," said Warner. The study also predicts Penn Gaming's Hollywood Casino on Gordon Drive will make $15,877,584 less than projected. Its casino near Salix would make $28,485,785 less. "I don't know how someone can possibly stand behind this information and to suggest that a company the size of Penn would spend $167 million for a facility only to generate less revenue. That's disappointing," said Lance George, Argosy Vice President and General Manager. Meanwhile, Ho-chunk's Warrior Hotel and Casino is only $708,351 less than projected. "Based upon Wells' own numbers, the fact that we have in their opinion less visibility didn't hurt our revenue numbers. They actually projected our revenue to be higher than Penn's which in both cases has a closer interstate access." Now all they can do is hold their breath and hope for the best.
Olivia Wilmsen will be in Council Bluffs next Thursday when the IRGC makes its final decision. Siouxland News will bring you that decision as soon as it happens.