DCIC Discusses Operator For Davenport Owned Casino - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

DCIC Discusses Operator For Davenport Owned Casino

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The City of Davenport is rushing to get in the game. City leaders recently voted to start negotiating with Ingenus. At a meeting Wednesday the non-profit that will run a land based casino discussed the process of choosing a casino operator.

The city and Davenport Community Improvement Corporation or DCIC have different roles during negotiations. Ingenus submitted the proposal, but there are 2 companies involved. A city sub-committee is working with FDP to build an interstate casino and hotel. The DCIC is negotiating with Ingenus to manage a city owned casino. What makes this process difficult is the DCIC board does not have to pick Ingenus.

"I think it's important for us to look at all the potential operators," says DCIC Chair Kelli Grubbs.

Ingenus is the casino operator on the table right now. The Minnesota based company wants to manage a casino at the I-80 and I-280 interchange, and a smaller casino downtown. However, just because negotiations are set to start with Ingenus does not mean they'll get the job.

"I just think we need to be aware that the DCIC has options in selecting the operating management," says Mary Ellen Chamberlin, DCIC Board Member and RDA President.

Other management options are Restoration St. Louis; the company submitted a proposal for a downtown casino. The board is also exploring using the current management team in place at Rhythm City.

"There have been some discussions over whether the existing personnel at the casino would be possible for management," adds Grubbs, "Perhaps with another layer above them using a general manager." 

There are also management models at city owned casinos in Dubuque and Altoona that the board can explore. However, before negotiations begin the DCIC wants to make sure the company they pick can pass the extensive background check.

"The background check may knock someone out of the box before we spend any time negotiating with them," says DCIC Member John Roche.

The process of choosing a management team falls on the DCIC, because the board will oversee casino operations. Picking a management team is tricky due to the process moving so fast.

"It's a rocky road and there are many entities involved," adds Chamberlin, "Craig Malin pointed out that there are 29 individuals involved in the decision making process."

The reason the process is moving so quickly is the city wants to get the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approval ASAP. City leaders did release a tentative timeline. The board would like to have a manager chosen by early March. An update on the sale and negotiations might be given at the March 9th gaming board meeting and the city would like to submit the application to buy Rhythm City on April 18th.