Originally Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2013, 8:43 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 25, 2013, 9:09 pm

Riverboat Development Authority may vote on Davenport casino plans next week

Comment on this story

By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

The board that holds the gaming license for the Rhythm City Casino in Davenport may vote next week on letting Davenport proceed with plans to operate a land-based casino.

The Riverboat Development Authority is scheduled to meet at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Woodfire Grill, 131 W. 2nd St., Davenport. RDA president Mary Ellen Chamberlin said the board may act on a new agreement designed to increase the RDA's percentage of casino revenue in the future.

She also said Davenport's casino consultant Gary Buettner, a former chief financial officer for Jumer's Casino Rock Island, will give a presentation to the board.

Davenport officials have announced plans to buy Rhythm City Casino from Isle of Capri for $46 million. Ms. Chamberlin said the city needs approval of an operator's contract between the RDA and the Davenport Community Improvement Corporation, a nine-member board created by the city to oversee casino operations.

City officials also are trying to determine a developer for a new casino. At the Jan. 23 city council meeting, Mr. Buettner said a proposal by Ingenus Management/Consulting, of Brainerd, Minn., had the greatest revenue potential for the city and opportunity for expansion.

Ingenus has proposed a hotel/casino at the intersection of Interstates 80 and 280, as well as a smaller casino downtown. Combined, the two casinos would cost $105 million.

Restoration St. Louis has proposed a $155 million downtown casino that Mr. Buettner last week told Davenport officials would not generate as much revenue as an interstate casino proposed by Ingenus.

Davenport's casino plan also needs approval from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. City officials said they hope to discuss their plans with the IRGC at its March 7 meeting, city administrator Craig Malin said.

"The only thing under my control is to ensure an orderly process with the (RDA) board of directors," Ms. Chamberlin said. "Whether we'll take any action, I'm not sure.

"I have people who want to move forward and others who want to wait a little longer," she said."There are others who may or may not vote against it."