Without any fanfare, last Thursday became a Million Dollar Day in Palo Alto County. Specifically, a simple letter and signature has guaranteed continued benefits to residents of Palo Alto County for several more years.
Since the Wild Rose Casino and Resort opened its doors in Emmetsburg in 2006, the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation has administered the distribution of a percentage of the revenues from the casino operations to entities across the county. Those grant awards have been made possible through the commitment of Wild Rose Entertainment to pay the non-profit license holder, PACGDC, six percent of the gaming revenues. Under the Code of Iowa, casino operators in the state are required to donate a minimum of three percent of their revenues to their non-profit license holder.
When the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission heard presentations from the two developers and non-profits competing for the license in Emmetsburg in 2004, Wild Rose Entertainment pledged to pay the non-profit six percent of profits, rather than the state-mandated three percent payment. Palo Alto County Gaming Development was awarded the license, paving the way for the construction of the Wild Rose. When Wild Rose began operations in 2006, it began paying six percent to PACGDC, which distributed those funds through its grant awards program every year.
A?MEMORABLE?DAY - Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation Board President Skip Wallace, seated, holds the letter of contract renewal from Wild Rose Entertainment for an additional three years in Emmetsburg. The letter, signed by Wild Rose owner Gary Kirke, continues the committment for a six percent contribution to PACGDC?to continue the yearly grant awards in Palo Alto County. Joining Wallace in reviewing the letter are PACGDC?Board members Bill Lapczenski, left, and Lloyd C. Petersen, right. -- Dan Voigt photo
The initial gaming license agreement was for ten years. In the case of the Wild Rose and PACGDC, that agreement entered its final year on April 1st.
With an eye to the sunset of that initial agreement, members of the PACGDC board began talks with Gary Kirke and Dr. Mike Richards, owners of Wild Rose Entertainment, about the enewal of their contract. Those talks came to a conclusion with a positive outcome.
"The Wild Rose Casino and Resort has notified us that they will renew their contract, including the six percent contribution to PACGDC, for another three years, effective April 1, 2014," stated PACGDC President Skip Wallace on Thursday, April 25.
Wallace, along with PACGDC Board members Lloyd C. Petersen of Graettinger and Bill Lapczenski of Emmetsburg, were not only pleased with the announcement, but also very surprised, yet thankful for the good news.
"You could have knocked me over with a feather when we got our renewal letter," Wallace admitted.
"We were also very excited to see that the six percent contribution would remain in effect," agreed Petersen.
In their official notification to Palo Alto County Gaming Development, Gary Kirke of Wild Rose Entertainment stated, "This will serve as notice that, pursuant to paragraph 2 of the Operator's Contract between Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation and Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C., Wild Rose Emmetsburg L.L.C. renewed the contract for the three year period commencing April 1, 2014. Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C. will present this renewal for approval by the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission."
The letter was signed, "Yours truly, Gary", by Gary Kirke.
"In talking with other non-profits, we were advised to not wait until a month or two before the agreement expired to discuss it," Bill Lapczenski explained. "We started talking with Gary a while back about this, and we're very happy to have this renewal completed."
"We are really thankful we were able to reach this agreement with Wild Rose without any of the problems that took place elsewhere in the state," Wallace stated.