In Iowa, the state-licensed Missouri River Historical Development gaming organization has been told that state gambling regulators will not be assisting its efforts to collect nearly $1.8 million in disputed revenue-sharing payments from Penn National Gaming.
State law dictates that casino operators must partner with a licensed non-profit organization to collect and distribute a portion of their gambling profits to charitable and civic organizations. The Missouri River Historical Development holds the gambling license for Woodbury County and had linked up with Belle Of Sioux City, which is a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, in the running of the former Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino.
According to a report from the Sioux City Journal newspaper, Penn National Gaming stopped making payments in June of 2013 two months after the Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission awarded the county’s first land-based gaming license to Missouri River Historical Development and SCE Partners, which opened the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Sioux City two days after the Argosy Sioux City closed on July 30, 2014.
A Polk County District Court judge later denied a motion from Penn National Gaming that would have seen a third-party receiver appointed to collect and distribute the funds, which equated to 3% of the Sioux City property’s adjusted gross revenues, while the Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission additionally turned down a request from the Wyomissing-based casino operator to redirect the money to a new local non-profit organization for distribution.
Penn National Gaming then filed a breach of contract lawsuit alleging that Missouri River Historical Development had schemed to replace the Argosy Sioux City with another operator before their deal expired in July of 2012. The pair had previously been unable to agree a long-term contract extension, which saw the Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission take the unprecedented step of putting Woodbury County’s license up for grabs and begin accepting proposals for a land-based casino.
Missouri River Historical Development then counter-sued, claiming that Penn National Gaming had interfered with its prospective relationships by sending threatening letters to other potential operators with whom it might be seeking an agreement. The organization moreover alleged that the actions of the Pennsylvania firm had prevented or delayed it from negotiating a more lucrative land-based casino agreement.
Despite both cases remaining open, no hearings have yet been scheduled and the Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission last week told Missouri River Historical Development that pursuing the money was not its responsibility.
“We really think it’s a matter that falls outside of the Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission’s jurisdiction,” Brian Ohorilko from the Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission told the Sioux City Journal.
Missouri River Historical Development could still ask the Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission to address the issue at a future meeting. However, it is thought that the August 18 gathering at the Grand Falls Casino And Golf Resort near Larchwood in rural Lyon County is too soon while the likeliest could be the subsequent October 13 get-together at Davenport’s Rhythm City Casino Resort.