Hard Rock Casino Wins Gaming License
(COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA) - The votes are in and Hard Rock Casino is the lucky winner. The 'Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission' voted three-to-two to give Hard Rock the gaming license for Woodbury County.Relief and joy - that's what Hard Rock supporters felt just moments after three of the five commissioners voted yes. "Definitely excited. Very thankful to the people of Sioux City. Community support was fantastic through the whole process. Thankful to the IRGC," said Bill Warner, Sioux City Entertainment President. "It was a nail biter right down to the wire. I think the commission did go with the best location, the best amenities. Thank goodness," said Mark Monson, MRHD President. But it wasn't all smiles before the final decision. "The guiding principle for the commission and staff is to protect the integrity of the gaming industry. I question the integrity of MRHD and the city," said IRGC Commissioner Gary Seyfer. "MRHD took some licks. I'm not sure we deserved all of them because some of the information wasn't correct," said Monson. "We publish our committees that review grants and we announce those things. They've been on record for forever and ever." "The city tried to negotiate with Penn. It was a difficult negotiation and that's why we're here. Quite frankly, had they offered their local non-profit, probably what they offered their new non-profit, we might not be. I don't know. I don't know the answer," said Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott. Even the chairman, Jeff Lamberti, who voted for Hard Rock agreed in part with the negative comments about MRHD. "I think non-profits should periodically take a look at themselves and whether they're doing the best practices, how they do their membership term limits. I think those were all good issues to raise," said Lamberti. But in the end, it wasn't enough to sway the swing vote. "That was what made this so hard is any of the three downtown projects would have been successful. We know that. And so up against Hard Rock, I thought Hard Rock had a better location," said That means it's the beginning of the end for the Argosy Casino - taking gambling in Woodbury County off the water and onto land. Argosy employees will have quite some time to figure out their next step. Hard Rock plans on starting construction in July and finishing up next summer.