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For Sioux City, What Nearly Was Opportunity Lost, Is Now Opportunity Gained —

For Sioux City, What Nearly Was Opportunity Lost, Is Now Opportunity Gained

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 – irgc@iowa.gov

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

 

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