Davenport’s casino plan is moving forward, but today Mayor Bill Gluba said he is not sure if the city will move forward with it.
Plans to take casino life off river and on land are becoming less of a gamble to some…
“It’s just one more step and I think it’s another very positive step,” says Gary Mohr, Chairman of the Riverboat Development Authority, or RDA.
…and more of one to others.
“It’s a loss to the people of Davenport,” says Mayor Gluba.
On Thursday, June 6th, 2013, Mayor Gluba stood in front of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) at their meeting in Osceola, Iowa to share his concerns over the developer the RDA chose – Kehl Development Corporation.
“Because of lack of competition over the last 10 years with the Isle of Capri owning two casinos in the same marketplace, it has cost the state millions of dollars and the local community millions of dollars,” Mayor Gluba said.
Kehl would be buying one of those two casinos – Rhythm City – but Kehl also owns Riverside Casino just south of Iowa City. But the IRGC’s Chairman says that’s far enough away and CEO, Dan Kehl, agrees.
“We’re investing $20 million to build this facility in the Quad Cities,” Kehl said. “That’s $20 million of our own money and no, we’re not building it to set it up to fail. I mean, that’s just not realistic.”
Kehl plans to build a $110 million casino resort somewhere along Interstate 80 in Davenport with a proposed opening date sometime in 2016. Meanwhile, it will keep Rhythm City open… sustaining those jobs.
“We understand the city’s concern and we understand the city has worked a long time on this project as well, but we’ve got a wonderful developer – a private developer with no taxpayer subsidies and $110 million in new investment,” Mohr said. “It’s time for the community to come together.”
That may take some time, though. Kehl still needs to come to an agreement with the city before any plan – on or off the river – can move forward.
“My concern is what’s in the best financial interest of the people of Davenport and I’m not satisfied yet that deal has been made,” Mayor Gluba said.
Kehl has 120 days to negotiate an agreement with the city and plans to sit down with Mayor Gluba soon to begin discussions.
Rhythm City is owned by the Isle of Capri Corporation, which released this statement today.