Officials from Davenport, the Riverboat Development Authority and the Isle of Capri plan to update the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Thursday on the city's proposed purchase of Rhythm City Casino.
City officials plan to pay $46 million to acquire Rhythm City Casino from Isle of Capri and move it to an undetermined location. But the IRGC must approval the sale.
The IRGC meets at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Johnston, Iowa. Mary Ellen Chamberlain, director of the RDA which holds the state gambling license for Rhythm City, said she thinks meeting with the IRGC is an important step towards a land-based city-owned casino in Davenport.
"One, they (IRGC) would expect the RDA to be there if the development is moving forward," she said.
"What I cannot say is the (RDA) board has totally approved the project at this point," she said."However, I will be there for any questions and answers. We're (RDA) still waiting to get a little more information."
The city and the Isle have arrived at a nonbinding term sheet for the city's purchase of the casino. City officials see it as a first step to opening a land-based casino in Davenport and removing the existing Rhythm City Casino from the riverfront.
An August 2010 report by Cummings Associates on gaming revenue projections said Davenport and Bettendorf casinos were under performing. In it, Will Cummings blamed the performance on the "old-style riverboats" he said weren't as attractive and customer-friendly as land-based facilities.
He noted the new Jumer's Casino, opened in December 2008 at the intersection of Interstate 280 and U.S. 92,"leapfrogged"the Davenport and Bettendorf boats.
On Monday, IRGC chairman Jeff Lamberti said it will look at issues such as the quality and certainty of financing of Davenport's proposal. He said a city-run casino "would be a significant precedent."
Davenport city administrator Craig Malin has said the purchase would be funded with future gaming revenue, not property taxes.He estimated financing for 20-year obligation bonds would cost $3.5 million a year over 20 years.
Ms. Chamberlain said the RDA uses its share of casino revenues to issue about $2 million annually in grants to community organizations and projects.The RDA plans to meet Wednesday to distribute roughly $900,000 for its fall cycle.
"We were getting a little more than $3 million in our heyday," Ms. Chamberlain said. "That was (in 1991) when we were the only boat around."
Mr. Malin has said a land-based city-owned casino could nearly double the amount available for RDA grants.
The casino posted $8.26 million in operating income and $10.48 million in adjusted earnings in fiscal year 2012.
Ms. Chamberlain said the IRGC usually grants casino licenses the first Thursday in March. If the proposed Rhythm City buyout is completed, the transaction could close as early as mid-2013 with a land-based casino opening by 2015, according city officials.
Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Soldiers from the barracks on the Arsenal manage to elude the vigilance of the guard nearly every day and come to town armed. In the hands of excited and perhaps intoxicated men, these weapons are dangerous. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Manufacturing's merchants and professional men of Moline were petitioning the Western Union Telegraph company to establish a telegraph office in the business area of the city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Three Rock Island students, the Misses Eleanor Cleaveland, Dorothy McCabe and Ruth West, escaped injury when fire destroyed College Hall at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave a party for William H. Stremmel, the only survivor of John Buford Post 243, GAR. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The East Moline Grade School Board of Education last night granted salary increases totaling about $47,000 to teachers and staff members. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Five champion spellers from the Rock Island/Milan School district were selected after competition this week at Modern Woodmen of America. Winners are Sarah Cottay, Christopher Gilbrich, Jared Vogele, Kedric Roper and Kenny Stevenson.