Casino pitch made to supervisors

Posted February 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm

By Steve Peterson

Brian Chamberlain of Warrior Entertainment was to discuss a casino license in Sioux City and sought the support from Plymouth County.

Ho Chunk Inc. and Warrior Entertainment would house its casino complex at the present Warrior Hotel and Davidson Office Building site.

“We’re in a very strong equity position of $40 million and our loan of $50 million at 6.25 percent is the lowest interest rate of any of the entities. There is also a local bank option. We project we will generate $136,252,000 in taxes and $430,560,527 in total economic development. We are invested locally.”

Chamberlain said demographics for the casino complex are led by Baby Boomers, age 51 and married with discretionary income.

“Warrior Entertainment will create an entertainment and economic engine for downtown Sioux City. Our vision is to build a brand new casino addition but also to restore two Sioux City landmarks, the Warrior Hotel and Davidson Building, back to their historic elegance,” according to a flier.

The Warrior Hotel would have 30 suites and 60 individual rooms as well as a place for entertainment to set 800 people in its Legends Theatre, “where there won’t be a bad seat in the place,” said Chamberlain.

Seventy percent of all casino complex revenue will stay in Siouxland, Chamberlain stressed to supervisors.

“The Warrior Casino & Hotel will be a major draw throughout the region with its plentiful amenities; it will be an exciting entertainment anchor for the entire downtown district,” he said.

There will also be in the plans: a 32,274 square foot gaming floor with adjacent services and amenities; 800 slot machines with a potential expansion to 1,000; 25 table games including power, roulette, craps, blackjack and baccarat; three restaurants including a fine dining restaurant, buffet and sports bar and grill.

On the Warrior Hotel rooftop will be Warrior 360, an entertainment component.

“We’ve already had requests to hold weddings and graduations there,” said Chamberlain. “We will connect with the existing city skywalk system.”

There would be close access from Nebraska Street off Interstate 29.

Warrior Entertainment is one of three entities seeking the Sioux City casino license from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Board, which will visit all sites in March before making a decision on April 19.

Iowa law mandates that a casino partner with a local nonprofit group and that a fixed percentage of revenue be awarded to that group for distribution within the State of Iowa. Siouxland Strong is that partner for Warrior Entertainment.

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No action was taken by the supervisors who will discuss its possible support in the future.

Other Business

Regarding the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget, supervisors discussed possible borrowing to pay for construction projects in Merrill, on Fifth Street, County Roads K-42 and C-38. It will be repaid by a Tax Incremental Financing revenues from the Plymouth County Ethanol Plant.

Secondary Road Engineer Tom Rohe presented for supervisors’ approval plans for the Merrill Fifth Street Improvement Project. Supervisors approved these plans by a 4-0 vote.

March 5 is the public hearing on the budget at 10:00 a.m. at the supervisors’ regular meeting.

• Supervisors reviewed Iowa Counties Assurance Pool (ICAP) information from Clarence Hoffman, ICAP President and county insurance agent Rob Bixenman of Le Mars at the Feb. 5 regular supervisors’ meeting.

Hoffman presented the supervisors with a check for about $19,000 due to the fund’s strong performance.

“This check is because the program has worked so much better than we ever expected. It has too much capital so we’re giving money back to the counties. You’re getting almost $19,000. Over the years since you’ve been in the program, you have received member credits. We’ve added two counties. Most of the counties have joined us. We won’t consider some if they don’t have a good loss control program,” said Hoffman.

Plymouth County learned it did not have to enter a “high risk” pool for workmen’s compensation claims this year after an appeal was granted

“That would have been at a 15 percent increase,” said Hoffman.

ICAP’s program of counties paying in to cover potential losses started in 1986. Now about 70 counties are members.

Union County Commission Chairman Doyle Karpen told one of the three groups vying to construct a land-based Sioux City casino — no support from the commission as a whole.

Karpen told Warrior Entertainment CEO Brian Chamberlain the commissioners could individually offer support if they desired but the board could not unless all three entities made presentations.

Chamberlain informed the commissioners about their casino proposal for the former Warrior Hotel and Davidson Office building in downtown Sioux City.

Later in the meeting, commissioners learned that the Hard Rock Cafe group will present their proposal at the Feb. 19 commission meeting.

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