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Former Argosy riverboat casino leaves Sioux City, bound for Illinois shipyard

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The former Argosy riverboat casino has pulled away from its dock in Sioux City and started a long journey to a shipyard in Illinois, where it will be sold or salvaged.

The floating casino closed in July after the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission ordered it stop operations, saying the business wasn't partnered with a state-licensed nonprofit group as required by Iowa law.

The casino's parent company fought the order, but the Iowa Supreme Court ruled it had to close.

The riverboat's voyage began Tuesday and will likely take about a week to arrive in Wood River, Illinois, the Sioux City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1uAUaoM ).

"It's sad to see it go," said Sindy Varnardore, who worked for 13 years at the riverboat casino. She stood along the banks of the Missouri River, holding her 14-month-old daughter, Kaiya. Like Varnadore, several other Argosy employees watched the boat leave Sioux City.

"It's been our second home," Varnadore said.

Pat Lamoureux and her neighbor Margaret Beeson also bid farewell to the casino, looking on as the vessel departed the Sioux City riverfront. Beeson said she was "delighted" to see it gone.

"I've never liked that thing sitting on the riverfront," she said.

Mike's Inc., which bought the casino, said crews are working on dismantling the other two barges that housed casino offices. The marine company's owner, Mike Marko, said he wants to move the barges out of Sioux City before Dec. 11. But, he said, he's had trouble finding a crane and a tow boat to do the job.

Another casino has replaced the Argosy riverboat casino in Sioux City, but on the ground. The Hard Rock opened on Aug. 1, two days after the Argosy closed.


Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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