RDA Slows Down Casino Purchase Process - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

RDA Slows Down Casino Purchase Process

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The Riverboat Development Authority has put the brakes on the Davenport's plans to purchase a casino.

The board can no longer discuss the casino with the city, or DCIC because a contract allowing it to do so expired Monday.

instead the board may be able to look for private operators to take over the riverboat on its own.

The RDA will begin to form a committee to negotiate the details of how it looks for potential casino developers.

One of the board members says there are other developers out there, and the board's lawyer says the plan to build on I-80 makes owning a casino more attractive.

"I am told by people there were interested parties in the past, I don't know if they would be interested in the future," says board attorney Bob Gallagher.

He told the board the Isle of Capri is willing to help the RDA find a new operator to take over the Rhythm City casino. It would need to work out the details in its contract first, but board chairman Gary Mohr says he will set up a committee.

"I think this community would appreciate us looking for other alternatives if they are out there."

Treasurer Don Decker says this is a good move by the RDA. He's opposed to the city purchasing a casino because of the risk to taxpayers if the casino doesn't turn a profit. He says there are other interested parties out there.

"There are people out there that want to bring in a really nice casino on I-80," says Decker.

He says putting a casino out on I-80 is more attractive to developers because that location can make more money. He says the state racing and gaming commission also supports a highway location.

"I think the Isle of Capri has been told over the last four years get moving, get it off the river, make a lot more money for everybody," says Decker.

RDA President Mary Ellen Chamberlin says more questions need to be asked, but she says the boat will eventually get off the water.

"There's definitely going to be a land based casino in Davenport, one way or the other, that's not in question," says Chamberlin.

The question now, who else wants to buy a gambling boat.

The RDA and the Isle of Capri will need to get Rhythm City's license renewed at the state gaming meeting later this week.

Chamberlin says that will also give her an opportunity to discuss the Isle of Capri's interest in finding private operators with company representatives.