Davenport city leaders have upped the ante when it comes to a land-based casino. Council members voted Wednesday night at a special meeting to start negotiating with a casino developer.
And the vote was unanimous, proving aldermen are all in, literally. They are closer than they have ever been to getting the boat off the water and building a casino on land. The ten to nothing vote lets city staffers start negotiating with Ingenus Management, and it lets them present a united front. Ingenus has proposed an interstate casino and boutique location downtown. That plan is the choice of the city's consultant.
At the same time, some still back a downtown plan, and say they don't know much about this developer from Minnesota. They remember a recent unpleasant experience with another developer with no local ties. Alderman Barney Barnhill says, "We made a mistake with Steve Edelson. Ingenus, I just don't know who they are."
But aldermen will find out. The city's negotiating team will be looking at design, a cost benefit analysis and whether another property owner could more cost effectively build that downtown boutique casino. During the meeting, Alderman Mike Matson asked, "So does that mean we're asking our negotiating team to discuss with Ingenus about someone else doing another part of the proposal, the smaller casino downtown?" The answer was, it's about getting all the cards on the table.
Alderman Bill Boom says, "I think in three weeks, we'll be able to get a better feel for this team, and see if it's the team we want to represent Davenport in this effort." Bottom line, aldermen say, it's about maximizing revenue for the City. And the Racing and Gaming Commission makes the final decision. "I think going forward," Alderman Bill Edmond says, "the State is just as anxious to maximize the value of that license as we are, so I would look for a favorable result from them."