First, Davenport aldermen took on the Riverboat Development Authority to force new, more profitable results for the city’s gaming license.

Then, some Riverboat Development Authority board members ripped into the Davenport City Council for soliciting better operators than the Isle of Capri.

This month, some aldermen challenged the RDA’s attempt to wrest control of the process away from elected officials and leave it in the hands of an RDA board that allowed the gaming revenue to languish for years.

Davenport needs leveler heads in charge of this important process, and they seem in short supply on either the authority board or the council. Too much history. Too much volume. Not enough listening.

On Thursday, Sioux City’s even more convoluted casino conundrum was resolved by a 3-2 vote of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Despite pending litigation, the commission led a public process that vetted four proposals from three vendors, including two that would create brand new authorities to oversee the gaming license.

Now, the Racing and Gaming Commission must step in to lead Davenport through the same process. Unlike the RDA, the Racing and Gaming Commission has acted to protect and increase casino revenue by assuring solid operators actually follow through on their signed agreements.

Twice, the Isle announced, then reneged on Rhythm City makeovers without consequence from the RDA. Credit Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba’s resolve to put the city on the hunt for a new operator. After two years of looking, the city signed one failed deal, then emerged with controversial plans for municipal ownership. Those hopelessly complicated plans ignited a fury of dissent that stopped the city dead in its tracks.

We’ve encountered few folks outside of the council eager to see city government in the gambling business.

So that leaves Davenport pretty much where it was in 2009.

In less time, the Racing and Gaming Commission resolved an even thornier dispute in Sioux City. The commission has the experience and staffing to help Davenport reach the same goal Gluba outlined in 2009 when he boldly cold-called a national gaming conference in Las Vegas. The goal is simply improving the public revenue share from the city’s gaming license. That goal remains whether or not city government owns a casino.

Iowa’s Racing and Gaming Commission has focused on that goal all along. If there’s one thing we need in Davenport, it’s focus.

Let the commission’s Sioux City experience benefit another Iowa city struggling to improve its gaming share.


(7) comments


Noiether of the Gaming Corporations we've had here lived up to their PROMISES


Both Reneged

And being 0-2 frankly I don't trust any of them anymore, we got burned twice and odds are likely we'll get burned a 3rd time .... I think a Community Owned complex like the Prairie Island Sioux have in Minnesota is the way to go ... Cripes they are making so much money they bought a neighboring town (Red Wing) an Ice Hockey arena that makes anything we have pale in comparison. They made a simple logic based decision ... Why take Chump Change for rent when you can own everything lock stock and barrel with full control over profits. They took a machine shed bingo parlor and turned it into a 5 star hotel, gambling casino, dinner cruise liner, full service marina, RV campground, ski resort and a golf course in less than 20 years.

We should also be developing Credit Island and turning it into the premiere fishery in this area. You MUST have something to draw people other than just gambling to compete against all the other area casinos. One of the biggest complaints I hear from fishermen is if you don't own a boat there is no place good to fish from shore despite over 2 miles of shoreline in Credit Island Harbor there are only a handful of places to fish and most of those are on the Concord street side. If we had spent 2 million dredging and rip rapping the harbor instead of on a bicycle bridge you would have drawn a lot more people here. Even as cruddy as fishing was in the Harbor last year (Partially because of the bridge construction and INEPT removal of the causeway ) and the bridge being new and a novelty (for a short while) there were still more people fishing down there than riding across the bridge on any average day.

We have an amazing piece of river here but all we do is use it as a fancy backdrop. Environmentally it's been pretty much ignored, all improvement projects have been from Buffalo on down the pool despite this part of the Pool having so much more potential because rock structure left from the old Rock Island Rapids and the confluence of the Rock River .... The potential is there but so far has been completely ignored and the opportunity wasted mainly because the sloughs are owned by the City and thus not part of the Corps Area of Operations so the 2 main sloughs in the upper part of Pool 16 (Credit Island Harbor and Hoirse Island aka Enchanted Island slough) are both 75% silted in compared to just 30-40 years ago ... They were still parking and load small barges in Credit Island Harbor as late as the 70's where you can't even get a flatbottom after mid July while at that time there were 2 sloughs at Horse Island where today there is one with the other chute silted in

Anyone interested in seeing what Credit Island Harbor looked like over the years can go to the Iowa Geographic Map Server and they have aerial shots from the 30's, 50's 60's 70's 80'[s 90's and the '00's .... See the 7 ft draft barges parked in the harbor BEFORE they raised the pool .... See the large marina and docks that used to be there, now all that business goes to Rock Island .... Look at half the Harbor dried up in August and September in recent years where they use to park 7 ft draft barges

credit island

It is the Gaming and Racing Commission that allowed one organization to own two gambling operations next to each other in the first place. Beyond that the problem in Davenport has always been the City Administrator calling the shots. Get rid of Malin and things would turn around fast.


What a stupid comment. Malin and the council are the only ones trying to do something about the poor performance of the casino. The RDA just decides which charities get money. They don't even understand how that money is generated. The members of the RDA need to go.


Both need to go, and take Gluba with them.


If they need more revenue just tweek the slot machine payout dial down a few notches. Gamblers won't recognize loosing a few extra pennies per play. Over time this will add up. Just like the old story of putting a frog in a pot of water and then slowly turning up the heat. The frog never realizes he's being cooked!


If I had a dollar for every person who can't spell the word LOSE, I would be able to play the slots all day.


The Times has it right in this situation. The Gaming & Racing Commission should pull the license from RDA for not conducting its oversight duties in the best interest of the citizens of Davenport. This whole gambling issue has become a dog and pony show between the City Council, RDA and Isle of Capri. It’s time the Commission formed a new non-profit to hold the license and then take proposals from developers to improve the gaming product here in Davenport. Status Quo is not acceptable any longer. The Isle of Capri has to go, the RDA has to go, and the City needs to be told in no uncertain terms that government ownership of the casino is a BAD idea. The Commission needs to realize the current situation is bad for everyone, including the State of Iowa, and take control from all the special interests bumping heads here in Davenport.

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