Davenport Well on Way to Casino Deal - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Well on Way to Casino Deal

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It has been less than two months since Davenport city leaders first floated their plan to buy the Rhythm City Casino and move it off the water. Now they say everyone involved is all in on the 46-million dollar deal, not wasting any time in making the land-based casino a reality.

City Administrator Craig Malin told council members Wednesday night, "The progress we're making is toward a significant community transformation." It's one city leaders reiterated is well underway, Council members outlined terms for the Rhythm City sale, started talking to the Riverboat Development Authority and Racing and Gaming Commission and created the Davenport Community Improvement Corporation, the non-profit that would run the city-owned casino, along with establishing its board.

Developers' proposals are due back next Thursday. "There's been a lot of discussion about the locations of the casino," Malin said. "Our rfp process is an attempt to open that up and let people demonstrate their creativity." We know 150 letters went out with requests for proposals. At least 12 companies have already voiced interest in building a land-based casino.

And we know talks are continuing. An RDA public meeting is set for Friday, interviews with potential developers the first week in January and another Racing and Gaming Commission meeting in Des Moines on the 10th. "Nothing's complete, nothing's finalized. There are a lot more twist and turns ahead of us," Mayor Bill Gluba warned the council and assembled crowd.

But city leaders say everyone involved is negotiating those turns together, and working together to make this deal happen. Gluba says, "Our goal again is to keep as much revenue as we possibly can in the community for the benefit of many community organizations, including the taxpayers." He says it is all about maximizing value of the casino license and the revenue coming in.

City leaders continue to point to the Dubuque model as an example. The privately owned casino there brought in just over 17 million dollars over the past 10 years. We are told that's similar to what Davenport has seen with the Rhythm City. But Dubuque's city-owned casino brought in more than five times the revenue, in the same amount of time. That is something Davenport city leaders would like to see happen here.

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