Airport board says 'no dice' to $250M hotel and casino

Tuesday 11th February 2020

The Des Moines Airport Authority Board said "no dice" Tuesday to a proposed hotel and casino plan.The board listened to HighView developer Reggie Sinah detail plans to partner with Wild Rose Casino to build a $225 million hotel and casino at the airport. The casino would use a projected $80 million in revenue to help pay for a new terminal at the airport.The board was not convinced."In your earlier presentation you identified some of the hurdles, but you simply tell us to ignore them because you don't agree with them," board member Mark Feldman said. "That's not the way the world works."No board member put forward a motion for the plan, so it was never even voted on for approval.The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission also said the plan would have had to face a countywide referendum vote before being approved.Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders said, "We support the decision by the Des Moines Airport Authority Board. The city of Des Moines has a commitment to Prairie Meadows and Polk County to oppose any casino expansion that is not affiliated with or approved by those two entities.""(It's) disappointing, but not unexpected because there (are) a lot of politics to it, let's face it," Sinah said. Sinah said he plans to return to Wild Rose to see if there are any legal actions to continue the casino but, for now, the plan appears to be dead.

The Des Moines Airport Authority Board said "no dice" Tuesday to a proposed hotel and casino plan.

The board listened to HighView developer Reggie Sinah detail plans to partner with Wild Rose Casino to build a $225 million hotel and casino at the airport.

The casino would use a projected $80 million in revenue to help pay for a new terminal at the airport.

The board was not convinced.

"In your earlier presentation you identified some of the hurdles, but you simply tell us to ignore them because you don't agree with them," board member Mark Feldman said. "That's not the way the world works."

No board member put forward a motion for the plan, so it was never even voted on for approval.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission also said the plan would have had to face a countywide referendum vote before being approved.

Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders said, "We support the decision by the Des Moines Airport Authority Board. The city of Des Moines has a commitment to Prairie Meadows and Polk County to oppose any casino expansion that is not affiliated with or approved by those two entities."

"(It's) disappointing, but not unexpected because there (are) a lot of politics to it, let's face it," Sinah said.

Sinah said he plans to return to Wild Rose to see if there are any legal actions to continue the casino but, for now, the plan appears to be dead.

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