This post will be longer than our usual
posts, but we’d like to get it all in
Earlier today we emailed Craig Malin 5
questions. Here are those questions and
First we asked: Did the City look into
the sale of the IOC property in Biloxi,
and if so are there any figures available?
(We asked this because of the pending
sale of a 720 room resort/hotel/casino
that Landy, Inc. purchased for $45 million.
Here is the response: We are aware of the Biloxi sale, along with other, more applicable sales closer to our region. We cover the price question as #45 of the questions and answers document.
We then asked: If MSEG made an offer to buy the Casino, what was their offer?
(We did this to try to determine market
value for said Casino.)
The response was: Previous offers made to
the IOC would have been made pursuant to a
confidentiality agreement, as is typical
in private transactions. We are a public
organization, so we operate differently,
and have made the proposed terms public.
We continued with: Will the purchase of
the Casino ensure our taxes will remain
the same, or be lowered?
The reply went as follows: The questions and answers document uses the phrase “absolutely not” to answer the question of whether property taxes will go up due to the casino purchase (question #12). “Absolutely not” is strong language for a local government, so that should provide comfort about taxes not going up. As far as reducing taxes, there are quite a number of variables involved, many related to decisions of the state legislature. Given uncertainty about state actions, city officials are wary of making specific promises on property tax reduction. It is obvious, though, that Dubuque’s ownership of the Mystique casino has helped them considerably in having a lower tax rate than Davenport. Their City Manager said that directly to the Times editorial board, offering an opinion that Dubuque’s tax rate would be a few dollars higher if they did not own the casino. Long story short – property taxes won’t be going up because of the purchase, but they could go down. See question #11 on the questions and answers document.
Which led us to another question: If the profits go into the general fund, are there
any restrictions on what the monies could be spent on?
The response was: General fund revenue may be expended on any legal purpose. The fact is the majority of our general fund expenditures are for public safety personnel and operations. City councils in the future will make decisions on how to allocate net gaming revenue.
And our last question: And will the Casino
be “smoke-free”after the purchase?
The reply was: That will require future study, and a number of people have made that suggestion. As a practical matter, moving the operation onto land will provide the full range of options from being fully smoke-free to building state of the art air handling equipment into the facility.
We didn’t mention the pending sale by the
IOC of a riverboat Casino in Lake Charles,
La. The purchase price is $15 million, but
the IOC admits it is their smallest Casino
in the Gulf Coast area.
Comments are always welcome.