I was asked for and mistakenly found myself in a situation where it was necessary to project an opinion.
It happened so quickly I forgot myself.
This usually happens when one is passionate about a subject matter.
Most, being open to do so (free speech), have every right to lend thoughts or opinion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion.
You know, those lengthy forms of expression which normally are based upon someones personal interest. Rarely could they be offered from a position absent of self.
This is where the main concern enters in, the preposterous idea of contributing selflessly to the benefit of others prior to one’s self.
A certain position outside of me and into we.
This is most certainly why (as of late) my contributions to the Downtown Sioux City Casino opinion has slowed.
It took quite a bit of contemplation, but quickly It was realized that opinions were mostly a selfish projection of a petty self.
As realized, this is our human nature, it happens to the best of us.
To improve, I led myself down a path to be rid of thoughtless level 1 thinking into the more admirable level 2 (deep thought approach).
The following is a description of where I arrived.
We are going to get a new Casino, most likely downtown.
Many will (or are going to) be offering our wonderful community highly advanced proposals to this effect.
While I had been thinking the offer which provides our entire community the most bang for our buck, would be best.
This contemplation has a few holes in it.
1) Yes, we do want to receive the most advanced facility. Who knows when (if ever) we will get another chance.
2) Yes, most of us agree that the operating percentage paid by the City and MRHD needs to increase.
3) It is an afterthought at this point to realize the location will be in the downtown area.
4) What facilities should it have? To me, it would be of most benefit to our community if the facility was venue and feature rich.
So who is the ideal candidate?
What profile could be constructed about them prior to receiving all the proposals?
A) Must have successful experience in building and operating a scalable gaming facility.
B) Must possess the necessary financial resources to begin and weather any financial storm.
C) Be headquartered close to home so most (if not all) the operating revenue is energized back into the community.
D) Ability to embrace the residents of Sioux City with a facility which appeals to our unique culture and history
E) Ability to attract the most Casino visitors from the furthest reaches of its market.
F) Allow for a minimal investment from the city to get it built and running.
So to realize the selfless approach, the favored candidate should serve everyone rather than someone.
Thus far it is quite clear, the Ho-Chunk/ Warrior proposal most certainly would favor our community very well.
So while reviewing the many highly dysfunctional ways our Land Based Casino game of roulette is playing out, it should be of no surprise to anyone that the Penn executives are just built this way. They are programmed by their various habits or routines to negotiate in a manner which will cause the opposition to “contribute more than what they get in return”. These habit’s possessed can be very damaging to a community such as ours and could be sociopathic in nature. But thanks to some very astute community leaders like Mayor Bob Scott and others on the MRHD board, we appear to be well insulated from these so very damaging tactics.
For Penn to think we as a community are so weak as to allow the loss of control of our Gaming license or our own community designed Nonprofit (MRHD) to one of their own design. Is to think that we are dumb enough to “contribute more than what we get in return”.
Write our superb community leaders to express yourself, this is our community and our time to shine!
This is the case of the many Casino communities as ours in Iowa ( Map: Casino’s: http://goo.gl/piqzx ).
If you didn’t know (because no one is reporting it), many gaming contracts are up for renewal, kind of like the renewal of a commercial lease. As ours, many other communities are considering upping the take (percentage) they receive from the operation of. This may be occurring for several reasons, (1) Inflation – Cost of everything has gone through the roof. (2) They had to keep the take low in the beginning to attract a quality operator. Now that the community casino market is well established, it’s time to cash in. (3) There are other casino operators who have indicated they will operate more-so in alignment with community concerns.
No matter what the issue, communities across Iowa are taking a very hard look at how they may further advantage themselves within their own unique gaming circumstance. Here is the current percentage taken by local communities throughout Iowa:
Terrible’s Lakeside, Clarke 1.5%
Penn National for Sioux City 3%
Wild Rose, Clinton 4%
Diamond Jo, Dubuque 4.5%
Grand Falls, Lyon 4.5- 5%
Riverside, Johnson 4.5-5%
Isle Waterloo, Blackhawk 5.75%
Diamond Jo, Worth, Northwood 5.76%
Wild Rose, Emmetsburg, Palo Alto 6%
So as it stands, our issue requires the utmost attention. Sioux City through Mayor Bob Scott and Our License holder MRHD have stood their ground as to gain a more favorable outcome. If we support them, we will most certainly get exactly as we want and deserve. That is a much larger portion of Casino Revenue (6%+), a shiny new $100 Million Dollar Casino utilizing the long overdue Warrior Hotel, a downtown revitalization package and a huge Parking Ramp to boot. All this done with local investors, local builders and local services.
As many have, write the editor at the Sioux City Journal here: email@example.com to ask (Copy this Phrase) “Why nothing has been reported on the Warrior Concept” that would obviously be of such enormous benefit to our community.
Being in a position of strength and influence in business is one of the most favored tactics. This is why we see so many sizable businesses in the US gain political and market favor in the news on a daily basis. Once a company has size and scale, what could go wrong?
Plenty can go wrong, especially when public opinion though various Internet tactics can dissolve a wonderful local company as we in our community have just witnessed. Right now, our next major challenge is of what will become of our city’s massive downtown economic revitalization opportunity’s. While many know of the Land Based Casino dispute between many of the parties involved, it is the appearance of the dispute which is to us most alarming. You see big companies in gaming hire the precise knowledge capital they require to fulfill their objectives. This is due to the many adversities this type of entreprise experiences, controversy is the nature of their business. As a result, it is of no surprise the waters are going to get “muddied” in an attempt to accomplish a certain objective. Reminds me of how in today’s world the more you denigrate something, the more you call it immoral, the more attractive it appears to everyone else. It’s a Simple question: Would you rather spend an hour listening to Mother Teresa’s accomplishments, or to Angelina Jolie messing up her perfect marriage? Unfortunately the latter possesses the most social energy in today’s society.
The strategy being implemented by Penn Gaming, operator of Sioux City’s Argosy Casio, has become more than apparent. Create the controversy, hold jobs hostage, win the battle in the end by negotiating a few more crumbs but less than what was sought. It is a classic maneuver that most fall for when placed into it’s path, especially here in Iowa where our reality is to maintain a society absent of such deceit. This sort of thing happens quite a bit when those from outside our community are allowed such an influential position. My intuition suspects a local hometown entity would not be as misguided, a historic perspective long time Siouxlanders have developed through similar experiences over many years.
So what are some of the better strategies to combat the evil who disguise themselves as better by strategically framing actions around controversy? (1) Openness and honesty usually is the “winner takes all” of strategies. While normally the most difficult to realize and act upon, most often in the long run is the most advantageous. We are dealing with a bad relationship which now is tainted by deceit and disingenuous maneuvering. Do we really want to stay married to such? As any relationship stressed by dysfunction, a redirected future most of the time will prove to be the best for all involved. Siouxland, by example we know this relationship with Penn is not currently or will be functional to our communities benefit. Let’s do now what will eventually be the inevitable, begin publicly opening the process to other and more functional Land Based Casino Opportunities as soon as possible. In this case a bully is what a bully does, moving on to a more publicly favorable “local” option will free us from these quite unfavorable conditions. The smart action is the honest choice.
“Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez
The Meeting of the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IRGC) just took place and the powers that be are working the “Local Land Based Casino” issue as never before. The issue at hand is, will Sioux City accept what our current operator decides to give us, or will we open this extraordinary opportunity to others and receive the most ambitious of offers from any and all. At this meeting, our nonprofit gaming license holder the Missouri River Historical Development Board (MRHD) and the City of Sioux City, via our very well intended Mayor Bob Scott and MHRD board member Dave Bernstein championed our interest very well. Both expressed how they on behalf of our community have attempted to negotiate with Penn Gaming without favorable success. Explicitly our Mayor expressed to the IRGC Board that Sioux City’s position is no longer Penn Gaming exclusive and will look elsewhere for more ambitious proposals. In addition, MHRD board member Dave Bernstein expressed similar disappointment with Penn and indicated distaste for the way in which Penn has chosen to “bully” and threaten us with the potential for loss of jobs. To further it was generally mentioned that if Sioux City was to (temporarily) lose any jobs as a result of Penn’s manuvers, those jobs would be lost due to Penn and not MRHD or the City of Sioux City.
Now Penn has proposed various land based Casino options that in my opinion are structured to “muddy the waters” further. Well prior to this meeting they introduced a very unambitious project based upon a current gaming market size of $56 million, which did not take into account any resulting increases in revenue. Today they switched gears and now are convinced the market revenue potential is $78 million, no wonder MHRD and the City have wiped their hands clean of them. How many proposal opportunities are they going to get? So now Penn when faced with the loss of the entire market, dreamed up new math to justify what they said will be a 100,000 sq. ft. gaming & entertainment facility if only the city will cough up 25 million for and build a parking ramp to boot. OK, then if we were to reengage with them, which side of their mouth do you think they will speak from next? Penn should have known all along, when you play games you should be prepared to play by yourself. In this case, they will find themselves playing without a gaming license. Which by the way belongs to Siouxland!
Now while the IRGC finds themselves navigating these unusual waters, they (in my opinion) have taken the usual “Iowa” stance as it relates to that “city which is almost in South Dakota anyway”. One commissioner expressed concern for loss of revenue for the state, another expressed concern for the loss of jobs. But for this issue it would have been superb to have at least one IRGC commissioner express one ounce of concern for our community! Here we go again Sioux City, get ready to get pushed to the side and kicked in the shins again.
So where does this leave us and what is next? Well it’s pretty simple if you ask me, we are done with Penn and will navigate to more lucrative and more well intentioned waters. These water are lucrative and will allow for us to gain more control of what we get and in the future could secure our role to a more favorable position. While their are sure to be allot of tempting offers, I wonder if we should possibly adjust our thinking a bit. As stated before, when Sioux City rolls out the red carpet to bring someone from the outside in, we many times are left to foot the bill after they decide to leave or change the rules on us to remain. So when examining the logic behind who to favor, why not heavily favor the local option? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that many of the most successful Siouxland businesses were started by Siouxlanders, not by some publicly traded corporation.
A superb “ready to go” local option to consider, the Warrior Hotel & Casino! Siouxland’s answer to what we as a community can do from the “Inside Out”!
So to conclude this most interesting journey into one of our most lucrative of community growth opportunities, I encourage all to get involved, send emails and to realize by these actions, you look to direct Siouxland’s most promising of opportunities in many years. Below are a few places to begin. Thank You!
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commision email – firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Sioux City General Comments – https://www.sioux-city.org/comments
Sioux City Journal, Siouxland Voice – http://my.siouxcityjournal.com/community/home.htm
Sioux City Chamber of Commerce, Contact Us – http://business.siouxlandchamber.com/contact
Having various options available is many times ideal, especially when faced with a community changing opportunity. As mentioned in prior articles here, Siouxland right now has but a brief moment to decide upon what direction we as a community should navigate while considering the opportunities available for a land based casino. The most immediate and easiest path currently is to hastily select what our current operator (Penn Gaming) has chose to offer, but where are all the other options that can be brought to the table? Well, for now that is the $100 million question. You see, wherever large amounts of money are at stake, the more advanced the maneuvering, politics and inside action. Our particular Casino opportunity appears to be no exception to this rule.
In my opinion, our current operator of the Argosy Casino (Penn Gaming http://www.pngaming.com) is working the inside as any cash rich entity would be expected to do. Currently the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) http://www.iowa.gov/irgc has expressed through various action, favoring Penn Gaming as the only operator and has notified our nonprofit gaming license holder MRHD ( Missouri River Historical Development) Board to that effect. The IRGC has only given MRHD until June 7 to resolve this extraordinary opportunity. The IRGC will not seem to entertain any understanding of “why” so little time is being given to the Sioux City community to thoughtfully research our options. It should be understood that “research” and “options” do not seem to be favored by the IRGC, only getting something done FAST! As experienced before, it appears the State of Iowa is kicking Sioux City in the shins again. Do what we ask or we will treat you like that small community which is nearly in South Dakota, anyway.
If any doubts to IRGC’s intent, please review the attached letter received by State Representative Jeremy Taylor to that effect. Letter to Rep. Jeremy Taylor
So What’s the Problem?
You would think at this juncture, some of our options are “off the table”. Well not so fast, we have done our homework and had many discussions with several on the inside of this issue.
(1) Can the Iowa Gaming Commission take away our license if we do not resolve with Penn Gaming and take the crumbs they give us?
Answer: Not without a massive lawsuit that is currently being aggressively explored. With certainty, we will sue for decades of lost revenue.
(2) Can Penn Gaming sue us for not continuing with them?
Answer: Yes, anyone may throw money into a lawsuit. But as I was told by one of Iowa’s most experienced gaming executives, “It is Sioux City’s license”, and Penn appears to be ignoring that very simple fact. Maneuvering to distort our right of ownership to the license is beginning to be felt by many in Siouxland with contempt. Our right to place this great community in front of the most lucrative of opportunities must be honored.
What Are the Options?
(a) Place into action, legal and political initiatives to extend us more time to pursue the best offers and best option for our community.
(b) Facilitate (as with the Tyson Event Center project) thoughful public discussion and input – prior to implementation. As a community, this is our opportunity and we should be treated with the utmost consideration.
(c) Consider potential local options of ownership or control that are available. This mainly is due to how quickly outsiders come and go, who are only interested in maximizing their profit – as opposed to whats best for the community. There are many throughout the years, the most recent would be the Delta Airlines Call Center. We are getting a little tired of companies vacating our city after we role out the red carpet for them, along with a boatload of cash. We have many examples of how local “home grown” successes benefit our community, for the long term.
If allowed more time what may occur? For the short term, it may get a little heated. For the long term, we will attract what we most definitively and rightfully deserve, NOT what someone thinks we should get! A Mega-Casino with all the many amenities, jobs and economic advantages so very many other communities receive.
The most interesting Option to date:
The $100 Million Warrior Hotel and Casino!
A 95,000 Sq. ft Casino with 82 Rooms & Suites, Restaurants, Entertainment Venue’s, Skywalk to the Orpheum, First Class Meeting and Convention Space, an Enormous Parking Ramp along with a plethora of Retail and A Supreme Downtown Revitalization Package. A project that would bring millions of new visitors a year into the Historic heart of our downtown!
Is it a miracle? Am I dreaming? Could we finally after nearly 40 years really receive enough foresight from all our civic leaders to get this done?
Answer: Yes and with Siouxland community support — it is very likely. It is time to let all within City Hall https://www.sioux-city.org, MRHD and the movers http://www.siouxlandchamber.com and shakers http://siouxcityjournal.com behind the scenes know, for this most important moment of our history, please be our hero’s! Please champion this one great vision. To do so will lift us up as a community from so very many recent disappointments, to that of a redirected future of pride and promise. As explained to me by a long time Sioux City evangelist, “Our most recent past has not served us as our future is about to”.
There are many working to make this happen. Above are a few of the computer generated conceptual plans we were able to pry from the fingers of one very gracious Warrior Casino Stakeholder. They are nothing less than spectacular, including the resurrection of the original “Warrior” Sign. What do ya say Siouxland? Should we get this old girl originally built by Sioux City’s own Klinger Construction up and running again?
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Downtown has been for many years an outstanding study. The many city executives and leaders who have at times tackled the issue with various efforts have done well in some area’s and failed miserably in others. Recently $80,000.00 was spent to bring in a group of experienced downtown revitalization experts, the Washington DC based International Economic Development Council http://www.iedconline.org. They toured, questioned stakeholders, interviewed, held meetings and on March 28 gave a brief to the direction of their findings. As stated by a few, our downtown has much promise, but what has been reported by most of the local media as to what was presented that Wednesday is not entirely complete. Actually if we as a community needed to rely upon being informed fully as to what was mentioned you might as well set the paper down and start twittering those who were there to get the real details.
Now here is how it went down. The expert panel was seated in front, each gave a brief along with a short slide presentation of their findings. As everyone in the room, my ears were listening from the perspective of:
Some gave more infastructure related findings and opinion, others gave more detailed recommendations. Here are a few items of Interest:
Land Based Casino
Other items of mention
These and much more will be detailed in the final report coming this summer. It will be interesting to see what politics come into play as an action plan is devised by the city and downtown powers that be. Here is one that over the last 30 years kicks the hell out of any well intended venture. Someone will spend and abundance of time, money and resources on parking. Not sure why this always happens whenever downtown is placed under the microscope, some uninsightful but well intentioned city employee or executive will start thinking “utilities” AGAIN! As if the “laws of attraction” were based upon streets, parking ramps or meters, water and sewer, a perspective which tends to plague city hall. Here is some near term advise directed at those who feel the need to spend more money on parking. If the area becomes a supreme attraction, one that can’t be denied, our downtown guests will find a place to park in one of the four mostly empty parking ramps (Ramps A or B, Martin Luther and Pearl St.). If we need another, I’m sure the Casino (if ambitious enough) will bring that number to five.
Here is our phase 1 suggestion. Now I know it’s hard to justify a salary while you are using very public ideas, but would’nt it be great to listen and provide what the public requests rather than relying upon a “utility” perspective.
Water & Allot Of It
Water Falls, Water Sculptures, Moving Water, Dancing Water, Water with Lights, Spinning Water, Colored Water, Water with Music, Water with Rocks, Water with Fish, Huge Water, Impressive Water, ATTRACTIVE WATER!
If there is one simple feature that will bring the Guests we desire Downtown, it is water. Especially if all is guided by the “Laws of Attraction”. Why not start by placing a very large “World Class” water attraction within the green-space next to the New Sioux City Museum. I am sure the many restaurants, shops, vendors and things we can’t yet imagine will quickly circle around it, actually it is most certain they will. Oh, and while your devising such, please be inventive enough to envision multi-seasonal ways to utilize.
Also you can forget about all the expensive feasibility studies and alike, just hire “local firms” to design and build. Next Monday would be a good time to start. Just use all that money you did not spend on snow removal this year to get it started. Who knows, maybe a restaurant or business would partner with you to further. I can see the 20 year lease documents flowing right now!
Dubuque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubuque,_Iowa) a city a fraction our size, embraced a similar opportunity and embraced it well. The Diamond Joe Casino is a superb “Iowa” case study in what is possible when a community thinks with great ambition.
We have but a breif momment to set the correct coarse for this “once in a lifetime” opportunity for our Siouxland community. A Mega-Casino with nearly 100,000 sq ft. of gaming, multiple restaurants, entertainment, shopping and a huge downtown revitalization package to boot. After the loss of large employers as Gateway and Terra, the 2011 flood and most recently the attack upon BPI, is it time to say enough is enough? We deserve, need and should embrace the appropriate mindset to accept nothing less then a Mega-Casino of Las Vegas proportion.
It’s official, the sumptuous Sioux City Famers Market begins May 9. All the glorious details are available at http://www.siouxcityfarmersmarket.com. Located near the Tyson Event Center, market hours are scheduled 8 to 1p. Vendor applications and registration information are available upon the website for all those who plan to provide their superb harvest of fresh local produce and goods.]]>
Could Sioux City and or Gaming Liscense holder “MHRD” be forced to sign with our current operator in order to keep our Gaming Liscense? According to a letter from Iowa House Representative Jeremy Taylor, the answer for now could be yes. As many in Siouxland, NRgize Siouxland has realized how much a real Mega-Casino in our city could positively impact economic growth. An enormous facility to interject jobs and revitalization into the downtown area on a scale never before achieved.
A copy of the letter:
REP Taylor_Letter to IRGC
Sure Penn Gaming (our current operator) stated they would build a less than Mega casino. But do we want to settle for second best on this once in a lifetime opportunity?