RDA: Davenport needs to negotiate its own deal with casino

The president of the Riverboat Development Authority which holds the gaming license for Davenport says the city should negotiate its own deal with casino developers if it wants more of the pie.

“The city can still do a development deal with Kehl. If they want, they can bargain on their own,” said Mary Ellen Chamberlin.

The city wanted a bigger share of the gaming profits from the proposed land-based casino, but the RDA rejected the numbers because it took away money from the non-profit agency that holds the license.

“When the contract came to us in writing, there was much less money for the RDA and there was more money for the city than our own money,” Chamberlin said.

As terms of granting the operating agreement to Kehl on Monday, the RDA cut the profit percentage for the city from 4% to 1.75%, a potential difference of 20 million dollars over ten years.  The change, Chamberlin said, was made for the good of the more than 400 charities helped by the RDA, not just the city of Davenport.

“We knew and they knew the parameters of  what we wanted out of the gambling license. Everybody knew that. When that number changed, we rejected that and went back to the drawing board,” she said.

“Everybody wants a piece of the pie.  Everybody knew over a year ago what the piece of the pie was for us,” she said.