Davenport aldermen, board, poised to act on casino deal

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Davenport is one step closer to developing a land-based casino. It's a $46-51 million dollar deal to get its gambling boat off the riverfront and into the Interstate 80 corridor.

Despite having lots of questions, the DCIC is recommending a proposal from Ingenus/FDP as a starting point for negotiations.

The Monday vote passed by just a 4-3 margin.

"The four to three is more indicative of wanting to keep the options open than it is in any kind of opposition to the Ingenus proposal," said Mary Ellen Chamberlin, DCIC and Riverboat Development Authority.

The Minnesota-based company plans to team up with local developer Rodney Blackwell. According to Davenport's consultant, it will bring in more gaming revenue than other options. That means more money for local charities that are counting on the cash.

"We're looking for the maximum of the license," Chamberlin said. "And at least the majority of the money to stay local."

The casino negotiations are moving forward to meet Iowa deadlines. On Wednesday, there will be a whirlwind of activity. An RDA meeting will be followed by a special city council meeting.

"There's a lot of different tasks that have to be completed," said Kelli Grubbs, DCIC chairman. "There's not necessarily an easy flow chart that chronicles when things have to happen."

Davenport aldermen are poised to focus on Ingenus/FDP during an expected vote on Wednesday. The vote will enable the city to take a closer look at plans and options before finalizing a deal.

Ultimately, everything must still be approved by Iowa's Racing and Gaming Commission, which next meets on March 7.

"Decisions have to be made in order for it to move that application forward," Grubbs said.

Davenport is developing a strategy designed to hit a big jackpot. One that will keep paying off for years to come.

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