A district court ruling in Iowa will allow work to continue on the new land-based casino in Sioux City, but legal issues there are far from over.
The ruling overturned an earlier court ruling that put a stay on the license for the new casino at the request of Penn National Gaming, operators of the riverboat casino.
Iowa’s Racing and Gaming Commission appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which ordered a review of the stay that resulted in the latest ruling.
Racing and Gaming administrator Brian Ohorilko welcomed the ruling.
“We are pleased with the court’s reconsideration and believe that we acted within the parameters of the law, given an unprecedented set of circumstances back in 2012 when the parties could not reach an agreement for that operating agreement,” Ohorilko says.
Polk County District Court Judge Eliza Ovrum ruled that although the operators of the Sioux City Belle will suffer irreparable harm, they would not likely succeed on the merits of their legal claims.
Ohorilko says other legal action will be heard at the March meeting.
“There still is a contested case proceeding scheduled for March 5th and 6th regarding the denial of the Belle’s license. That is a separate matter and will be heard at the commission meeting,” Ohorilko says.
The Racing and Gaming Commission decided to award the new license for the land-based casino after Penn National could not come to an agreement with its non-profit group in running the riverboat.
The new land-based Hard Rock Casino is scheduled to be completed by the fall.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City