DES MOINES (AP) — The owner of the Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino has asked an Iowa judge to stop construction of a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in downtown Sioux City.
Attorneys for Argosy's parent company, Penn National Gaming Co., filed the motion in Polk County District Court in Des Moines on Monday. Penn National is seeking to stop the construction until its lawsuit against the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission over the commission's selection process for the new casino is resolved.
Work began in July on the $128.5 million Hard Rock casino.
The commission in April selected the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City for a new land-based casino over three other proposals, including two by Penn National. Penn National immediately filed a petition for judicial review, claiming that the commission violated Penn's constitutional rights, state and federal laws, and the agency's own rules, as well as ignored a series of deficiencies and improprieties in the Hard Rock group's license application.
The commission last month also denied the Argosy's request to renew its state gambling license, but it did not set a closing date for the floating casino.
In its latest filing to stop construction of the Hard Rock casino, Penn National argued that it was likely to prevail in its lawsuit.
“If the (commission) is going to truly provide a fair hearing and process regarding the illegal revocation of Argosy's license, then it should be a logical step to temporarily stop the Hard Rock Casino project from moving forward,” Penn National said in a written statement. “Any other action would result in a sham of a proceeding for the Argosy.”
An Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator declined to comment on Penn National's latest request.
A message left Tuesday seeking comment from the Hard Rock casino developer, Sioux City Entertainment, was not immediately returned.