OUR OPINION: Community deserves faster court decision on casino

2013-12-15T08:00:00Z OUR OPINION: Community deserves faster court decision on casinoJournal editorial board Sioux City Journal
December 15, 2013 8:00 am  • 

From the beginning of discussion about a new land-based casino, our focus has been on support of a downtown Sioux City location because we believe that's what's in the best interests of our community and county. On this, we have been clear and consistent.

We believe a stronger, more-vibrant downtown is key to this city's - and, by extension, this county's - future, and we believe a casino would transform downtown.

In an editorial published just days before the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission chose a land-based casino project from four proposals (including three downtown proposals) in April, we simply repeated what we had said all along: The casino must be built downtown.

Today, we react to District Court Judge Robert Hanson's casino license ruling last week with the best interests of our community in mind again.

Hanson granted a motion by Penn National Gaming Co., owner of the Argosy Sioux City casino, to suspend the state gaming license awarded to Sioux City Entertainment (developer of the planned downtown Hard Rock Hotel & Casino) until Penn litigation against the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is resolved.

Hanson's ruling was a troubling development for our community because it cast a cloud of uncertainty over a casino project already under construction to which taxpayer dollars already have been committed.

Still, we understand and respect the fact a legal process is involved.

Our concern is how long final resolution of Penn's case against the state Racing and Gaming Commission might take. Last month, Hanson scheduled final arguments for Dec. 22, 2014, signalling the case likely wouldn't be settled until at least January 2015.

That's far too long to wait.

In our view, leaving a case of this magnitude to sit unresolved on a court docket for a year is absurd, and it's unfair to our community. In short, we deserve better.

All parties involved in and impacted by this legal dispute, in ways both direct and indirect, should want and should do whatever they can to push for an expedited decision.

We don't know how this case will turn out in the end, but we do know this: Everyone deserves to know the answer in timely fashion, and waiting a year isn't timely.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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