Hard Rock Casino's Gaming License On Hold After Judge's Ruling - Siouxland News - KMEG 14 and FOX 44

Hard Rock Casino's Gaming License On Hold After Judge's Ruling

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SIOUX CITY, IA -

Construction of Sioux City's new Hard Rock Casino has already been underway for months.

But work could soon come to a sudden halt

A court ruling issued Tuesday afternoon is raising that question.

That's just the latest twist in the bitter legal battle over gambling rights in Sioux City.

Polk County Judge Robert Hanson granted a stay on the issuing of a gambling license for the new casino.

Until a final ruling can be issued on lawsuits filed by Argosy, the license and the future of the Hard Rock appears to be in limbo.

In his ruling Judge Hanson said the Belle of Sioux City, known as the Argosy, presented arguments that in early 2012 Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD), the nonprofit holder of the gambling license, behaved in a "course of conduct" designed to "solicit[ing] interest" and to "influence the IGRC [Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission]" into "revok[ing] the Belle's [Argosy's] gaming license" so that MRHD could develop a new land based casino.

He says evidence shows that in April the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) violated the rights of the Argosy by awarding the license to Sioux City Entertainment and the Hard Rock Casino developer.

Argosy officials agree with the judge and say they deserve a fair chance.

"... We're obviously disappointed with regards to-- to sort of the assault that's taking place on our name or going on during this process and, you know, we do maintain very good relationships with many, various members of the community, we certainly have a robust [inaudible] non-profit partner that we will work with should we be the ones to have the license ultimately in this case. And the fact is that we've been a part of this community for over 20 years and that we've built a lot of goodwill, over those years and we intend to move forward in a positive manner uh regardless of the outcome." said Karen Bailey, vice president of public affairs for Penn National Gaming, the parent company of the Argosy.

In his ruling, the judge also goes on to say there's a substantial possibility that the Argosy will succeed on the merits of its case.

But construction for the new $100 million dollar casino has already started Casino in the west side of downtown Sioux City.

And it was scheduled to open next summer.

But now that the former license holder is back in the ring, the owners want a chance to win back that license and keep the Argosy Riverboat Casino afloat.

2 other lawsuits filed by Argosy are still pending.

A suit against MHRD won't be heard until April.

And a suit filed against the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission won't be heard until next December.

We've tried to contact both MHRD and the Hard Rock Casino, but haven't gotten a response yet.

We'll continue to keep you updated as more develops.

If you have a story you want to tell or an  incident you think needs to be investigated, our reporter Beairshelle Edmé wants to hear about it.
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