Davenport's Rhythm City Casino still looking for a buyer


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Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2012, 7:09 pm
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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com
A possible sale has fallen through for the Isle of Capri's Rhythm City Casino in Davenport.

IOC shared that information with the Iowa Gaming and Racing Commission during its Thursday meeting in Dubuque.

"Despite a good deal of time, energy and expense, it does not appear that the transaction will occur," said IOC spokeswoman Jill Alexander. "We continue to keep (the commission) up-to-date of developments as they occur and continue to look at all of our options."

In August, Ms. Alexander said IOC was advised talks had progressed with a potential buyer for Rhythm City Casino.

Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba said he is disappointed but not discouraged.

"As I said at the very beginning of this venture, there would be lots of twists and turns before we get everything finally resolved as far as the casino issue is concerned," he said. "Patience is a virtue. We need to proceed accordingly.

"I've got great confidence in this casino marketplace," Mayor Gluba said. "Jumer's (Casino and Hotel in Rock Island) was built for about $151 million and sold about a year or so later for $180 milliion. I'm confident the city council will eventually do what is in the best financial interest of the people of Davenport concerning riverboat gambling."

Last month, the mayor said he thought IOC was asking too much for Rhythm City, saying he had heard the asking price was in the $55 million range.

Iowa Gaming Commission Chairman Jeff Lamberti said he doesn't think there are any imminent prospective buyers for Rhythm City. The latest proposal involved the city, IOC and potential buyers, he said.

"They (IOC) expressed some frustration but said they are still committed to working with it," Mr. Lamberti said. "Our position is we're still committed as a commission to moving that to a land-based facility.

"At the same time, we're pretty realistic," he said." They (IOC) have got to find a buyer, the right market conditions. We don't want to overreact and force something without being reasonable.

"We don't feel like we have to impose immediate deadlines," he said. "All parties seem to be working very hard."

Mr. Lamberti said the commission believes there is strong interest in moving Rhythm City to a land-based casino.

"I'm extremely confident it's going to happen," Mr. Lamberti said. "Isle has been very forthcoming with us in keeping us informed."

In March, while renewing Rhythm City Casino's license, the commission underscored its unhappiness with the IOC's lack of investment in the Davenport boat.

Davenport has a development agreement with Steve Edleson, who represents Chicago-based developer MSEG LLC, according to Mayor Gluba. That agreement expires Nov. 12. In August, Mayor Gluba said if the city couldn't strike a deal with MSEG on a downtown casino by that date, it would look at other buyers.

On Thursday, the mayor declined to comment on the MSEG agreement.

"I'm an optimist," Mayor Gluba said. "It's a learning process for everybody."






 












 




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