SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The owner of the Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino has asked an Iowa judge to block a rival land-based casino project from moving forward.
Penn National Gaming Co. filed a request for judicial review of the actions taken by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission in selecting the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino last month to build a downtown Sioux City casino, the Sioux City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/10iD28K ).
Penn is asking the court to reverse or vacate the commission's decision.
The legal complaint mirrors a request Penn National filed earlier this month asking the commission to reconsider its April 18 vote to award a state license to the Hard Rock developer, Sioux City Entertainment.
"That request is still pending as well," Penn spokeswoman Karen Bailey said in a statement Monday. "Since (the commission) did not respond to our request before our 30-day window under administrative law, we had no choice but to also file with the court in order to protect our rights on the matter."
Penn claims the commission violated state law and Argosy's rights to due process. It also says the commission ignored deficiencies and improprieties in Sioux City Entertainment's application to build a Hard Rock-branded casino.
Penn has said the commission selected a proposal that burdens local and state taxpayers. Sioux City Entertainment's application includes a request for $22 million in tax-increment financing from the city, while Penn is fully funded, Penn has said.
The commission selected the Hard Rock casino in a 3-2 vote. Penn submitted proposals for a Hollywood-themed casino either downtown or at a rural site. Ho-Chunk Inc. put in a bid to build the proposed Warrior Casino & Hotel.
The Argosy riverboat casino will keep operating until the completion of the Hard Rock casino, which is expected to open in July 2014.
Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com