(SIOUX CITY, IA) The Missouri River Historical Development met with media today, just two days before the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission meeting set for Thursday.
At the heart of this ongoing controversy, MRHD drew up a new extension of its agreement with Penn National to keep the Argosy Casino afloat yesterday, but Penn rejected that extension today.
MRHD says the contract signed with Penn National last month was not accepted by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and therefore is invalid, but Penn says that's not the case.
It's an ongoing battle between MRHD, the non-profit that holds the gaming license for the Argosy Casino, and Penn National, the Argosy's operator.
"A contract between Penn and MRHD is not in effect unless Racing and Gaming approves it," said MRHD President Mark Monson.
So MRHD drew up a new extension with Penn through March 2015 on Monday, with a catch -
MRHD will be allowed to freely negotiate with other gaming operators for a land-based casino.
In response, Penn released a statement Tuesday saying, "MRHD is now seeking to modify a contract that was signed by both parties in July and remains in full force and effect from our perspective."
Penn says the contract both parties signed binds MRHD to only negotiate with Penn, But MRHD says, the gaming commission decides when contracts begin and end.
"We clearly believe that exclusivity, if there was any, and we don't think there ever was ended on July 6th, because that was the day they declared our contract ended," Monson said.
Penn went on to say, "We are disappointed by their continued aggressive efforts to replace us as a operator. We are hopeful the IRGC will ratify our existing agreement with MRHD on Thursday."
So what does this mean for the Argosy - could it shut down before a casino gets built on land?
Monson says, that's up to the gaming commission, and Penn.
"MRHD does not employ any of those people. The only one who can un employ those people is Penn," he said.
You can e-mail reporter, Heather Leigh, at Hleigh@kmeg.com or Facebook her at www.facebook.com/heatherleighkmeg