Gambling regulators are now about three weeks away from making a decision on the operator for a new land-based casino to replace the current riverboat casino in Sioux City.
Members of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission visited the four proposed sites this week and chairman Jeff Lamberti says the visits were informative.
“It’s one thing to have presentations made to you or see it on paper, it’s quite another to be able to get out, actually see the sites,” Lamberti said. “Because then you can address issues of what it really looks like in terms of the buildings, how the layouts are at the site, how the access is, particularly here with all the work that is going to be done on the interstate to really get a feel for it, so that part is very good.”
The commissioners were greeted by more than 500 cheering people when they visited the proposed Hard Rock Casino site.
“This was all fairly unique for me, because we haven’t gone through this since I’ve been on the commission. But I will say they all did a great job of hosting us. And it wasn’t all just about that, I mean it was really about showing the strengths of their projects and the locations,” according to Lamberti. “This was the first time I’ve been through anything like this, in the end it was very helpful.”
Lamberti said the commission faces a tough choice at next month’s meeting.
“We will all take all the information that we’ve gathered over these many months and try to come to a decision,” Lamberti said. “It’s gonna be very difficult and each member I think is gonna have different things that appeal to them. And then ultimately someone makes a motion for one or another project, it could pass, it could fail, and then we will go on to another one.”
The meeting is set for April 18th in Council Bluffs.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City