State official: Davenport's Proposed Purchase of a casino is unique

October  22, 2012

Davenport's proposed purchase of the Rhythm City riverboat casino is unprecedented in the State of Iowa. And the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is waiting to find out whether the city will apply for a gambling license. 

Mayor Bill Gluba says it would be modelled after the Mystique Casino in Dubuque, which began with as a greyhound racetrack. In Polk County, Prairie Meadows also started with horse racing.

Administrator Brian Ohorilko says state regulations are different for riverboat and land-based casinos compared to racetracks, which are owned by non-profits. He says Dubuque and Polk County may own land or property and lease it to a non-profit casino license holder which is responsible for making decisions about management and ownership, not the city or county.

And legally, it's NOT accurate to say that Dubuque "owns" the Mystique, or that Polk County owns Prairie Meadows. 

Davenport officials have a non-binding agreement to buy Rhythm City for 46 million dollars. And residents can learn more about the city's plan at a public forum Monday night at 6:30 at the Adler Theater, and at ward meetings Monday and Tuesday.