Gaming commission to hear Davenport casino proposal


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Originally Posted Online: May 15, 2013, 10:11 pm
Last Updated: May 16, 2013, 12:12 am
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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

As Davenport officials prepare to update the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on their preferred proposal for a land-based casino, Riverboat Development Authority members are meeting with prospective casino developers and operators.

For any project to come together, a combination of agreements must be completed.

Davenport officials last week announced a revamped proposal from local developer Rodney Blackwell that initially was part of plans for a city-owned, land-based casino.After the city council's committee-of-the-whole meeting Wednesday, Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba said the proposal to operate a casino along the Interstate 80 corridor in Davenport made the most sense for the city.

Mayor Gluba said city officials likely will discuss the proposal with the IRGC when it meets June 6 in Osceola, Iowa.

Mr. Blackwell has declined to comment on the proposal. Mayor Gluba, however, says it's the best project for the city.

Mayor Gluba said Mr. Blackwell's proposal has his company, Davenport Casino Group, owning the casino and a hotel. DCG proposes buying Rhythm City Casino from Isle of Capri Corp. and working with the city to build a land-based casino and hotel.

A statement from the city said the proposal would involve "bricks and mortar" costs of $66 million and total costs between $135 million and $140 million. The city would make a $33 million investment in the project.

"It reduces the risk to the city and increases revenues for us and the RDA, plus it provides the school districts $1.2 million a year in tax dollars," Mayor Gluba said."It's a big win we can get done unless there's some better deal out there."

It's just one of several proposals considered by the RDA which holds the gambling license in Davenport.RDA president Mary Ellen Chamberlin on Monday said the group considering three to five proposals.

"We'll probably go up (to the IRGC meeting)," Mayor Gluba said Wednesday. "If we want to have any place on the agenda, we have to get our name on there ahead of time.

"I don't know whether there will be much to report; we hope there will be," he said. "We're optimistic the RDA will make some decision. I respect their right to take the time they need.

"Right now, the state of Iowa is losing $7 million a year to the state of Illinois because of Jumer's casino, and that's a fact," Mayor Gluba said. "It's time to get this over with and move on."




















 



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