Davenport is now targeting the April 18 meeting of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to submit a license application for the city’s proposed takeover of the Rhythm City Casino.
Davenport City Administrator Craig Malin laid out the new timeline at a meeting Wednesday of the Davenport Community Improvement Corp. during a discussion on an operator for a proposed land-based casino.
The city is in the process of acquiring the Rhythm City from the Isle of Capri for at least $46 million. Operations would be overseen by the Davenport Community Improvement Corp., with revenues passed through to the city under a lease agreement.
An operator agreement for the casino would be the primary requirement for the corporation. A completed purchase agreement, a development agreement and financing plan for the casino and an agreement between the corporation and Riverboat Development Authority also would be part of the application to the gaming commission.
Malin told the corporation board that the city would like to have everything in place so that an application can be assembled starting in early March. The city’s negotiating team is to report to aldermen at the Feb. 20 council meeting. The April gaming commission meeting is in Council Bluffs.
“If everyone is making good progress, we would be looking for March preparing the application and the April IRGC meeting,” he said.
The Isle of Capri also might include the Davenport Community Improvement Corp. as a signatory on the purchase agreement that is being completed, Malin said, saying confirmation of that could come by next week. That would allow the corporation access to documents that could help in making management decisions.
The corporation and the city created a plan for doing background checks on at least the Ingenus Management & Consulting principals.
Various members also will consider the financial background and management of the Ingenus team as well as consider what the scope of any management agreement might entail.
Board member Mary Ellen Chamberlin said the Dubuque Racing Association hired a general manager to create a management team to oversee operation of the Mystique casino and report back to the board.
“I’ve seen these other public operators run without management fees,” she said. “What do we get for management fees? If it is something like training, that is something that doesn’t cost millions of dollars a year.”
Ingenus would manage the whole operation under its management agreement, Alderman Jeff Justin said. He did say that other operators might be willing to provide their services, too.
The current management team of the Rhythm City could be an option to consider.
“We think it is important to look at all the different options,” corporation chairwoman Kelli Grubbs said after the meeting. “These are all things we have to get answers to. There is a lot of work to be done.”
The board voted to hire an attorney to start developing a lease agreement between the corporation and the city.