RDA to hear consultant’s casino ideas

2013-01-26T22:13:00Z RDA to hear consultant’s casino ideasThomas Geyer The Quad-City Times
January 26, 2013 10:13 pm  • 

The Riverboat Development Authority will hold a meeting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to hear a casino consultant’s ideas and figures on Davenport’s proposed casino and where it might best be placed.

RDA President Mary Ellen Chamberlin said Saturday that she and the 12 other members of the panel are continuing on their schedule to determine what is best for gambling in Davenport.

Chamberlin said there was “no way we could stay within the schedule we were given” by Isle of Capri, the owner of the Rhythm City casino in Davenport.

The city is in the process of acquiring Rhythm City for $46 million.

“We’ve had some correspondence with them,” Chamberlin said of the communication between the RDA and Isle of Capri.

“We wrote them a letter and told them we should be able to have our part completed by the first of March,” she said. “We got a fairly noncommittal response back, so we’re proceeding on our schedule.”

The Isle of Capri extended permission for discussions between the RDA and the city and the Davenport Community Improvement Corp. to continue until Friday to allow for this week’s meetings, according to an email from Isle spokeswoman Jill Alexander. The status of discussions beyond that date are unclear.

At last week’s Davenport City Council meeting, casino consultant Gary Buettner presented aldermen an analysis of Restoration St. Louis’ downtown casino proposal and Ingenus Management and Consulting’s plan for an interstate casino and downtown branch.

Revenue estimates by Buettner showed the Ingenus project would return $91.3 million in gross gaming revenue and $11 million in net revenue to the city, while the Restoration St. Louis project would provide $67.2 million in gross gaming revenue and $10.5 million in revenue to the city. The city revenue in the figures is before any debt service is paid

Chamberlin said the RDA wants to hear that presentation “as a matter of due diligence.”

“It’s a progression of information we get, and this provides us with more information to make a better-informed decision,” she said. “We want to do what’s best for the community.”

Chamberlin said the RDA can only vote on the contract with the Davenport Community Improvement Corp., the nonprofit entity that will oversee the casino for the city if the plan goes through.

“We can’t technically vote on the development, although we can make our opinions known,” she said.

What is important at this point is that both development plans appear to be viable, she added.

In the meantime, the RDA is complying with its current contract with the Isle of Capri to keep the Rhythm City open.

Chamberlin will meet with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on March 6 to continue the current license. “We want to protect the jobs there as well as the income for the city, state, and county.”

In addition to the RDA meeting Wednesday, the Davenport Community Improvement Corp. will hold a public meeting at noon Monday in the Colonel Davenport Room at the Davenport RiverCenter South and the Davenport City Council will have a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

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(1) Comments

  1. JS824
    Report Abuse
    JS824 - January 27, 2013 9:29 am
    S crew the Isle of Capri. They've done nothing but neglect the Davenport casino, while investing millions into it's competitors. Quit bending over backwards for them and tell them to shove it. The deal will get done when it gets done, don't work on the Isle's schedule. It's bad enough they have you over a barrel paying them 46 million, which they will turn around and use to upgrade your # 1 competitor in the area. Quit letting them make the rules.
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