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Argosy Casino leaves Sioux City

The former Argosy riverboat casino travels down the Missouri River after leaving its Sioux City dock on Oct. 7, 2014. After being docked in Illinois for four years, it has been sent to western India to be used as a substitute casino boat when two others are sent to dry-dock for repairs. 

DES MOINES | The Iowa Court of Appeals next month will hear the former Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino's appeal of a series of rulings that led to its replacement.

Attorneys for the Belle of Sioux City, a Penn National Gaming Co. subsidiary that operated the floating casino, and the Iowa Attorney General's Office will present their arguments Feb. 23 in Des Moines.

The Belle is challenging the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's actions when granting a state gaming license in 2013 to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City and its local nonprofit partner, Missouri River Historical Development.

The case had initially been appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which transferred the case to the appeals court last month.

Belle of Sioux City filed its notice of appeal a year ago, challenging District Judge Eliza Ovrum's Nov. 7, 2014, ruling in Polk County District Court that the IRGC had acted within its authority when it granted the gaming license to the Hard Rock and MRHD.

That case was a result of a lengthy contract dispute between Argosy and MRHD that led to the IRGC's decision to accept bids for Woodbury County's first land-based casino.

Belle claims the IRGC's actions were "unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious" and violated state law and the company's rights of due process.

The IRGC ordered the casino to close in July 2014 because it was in violation of a state law that requires casinos to partner with licensed nonprofit groups. The Argosy's license lapsed after MRHD, its then-nonprofit sponsor, refused to sign off on a license renewal application.

Ovrum upheld that IRGC decision, and the floating casino was closed July 30, 2014, two days before the $128 million Hard Rock opened in downtown Sioux City.

The Argosy riverboat and accompanying structures on shore have been removed from the Missouri riverfront. The riverboat was sold to an Illinois shipyard.

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