SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Nebraska company wants to develop a casino and hotel in downtown Sioux City if it wins the rights to Woodbury County's gambling license.
Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., recently confirmed the company's interest to local news outlets. Ho-Chunk is the economic development company affiliated with the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.
Missouri River Historical Development has said it's considering a new partner to run a casino in Sioux City because it couldn't agree on the details of a land-based casino with Penn National Gaming, which runs the current Argosy Sioux City river boat casino.
Iowa law requires casino developers to pair with qualified nonprofit organizations. Applications for the Woodbury County gambling license will be accepted through Nov. 1, and several companies are expected to bid.
The nonprofit's president, Mark Monson, declined to comment on Ho-Chunk's proposal or on who else might bid on the license.
Morgan said he believes the company would be the best partner because it is based in nearby Winnebago, Neb., not several states away like other firms.
"This is a huge opportunity for the local community to determine what's best for Sioux City and not have outsiders 1,400 miles away dictate what Sioux City gets," Morgan said.
Morgan declined to discuss the details of Ho-Chunk's plan because it is still being developed, but he said the company wants to create a downtown hotel and casino.
The Winnebago Tribe operates the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan in western Iowa, but Ho-Chunk is not involved in running that casino. The tribe used revenue from the casino to create Ho-Chunk in 1994, and Ho-Chunk has grown to include 26 subsidiaries and more than 1,000 employees.
The company generates more than $200 million revenue through its information technology, construction, distribution and other businesses.