IRGC Meeting - Council Bluffs

Meeting Time: Thursday, April 14, 2022
Meeting Location

Mid-America Center
1 Arena Way
Council Bluffs , IA 51501

Meeting Agenda Document:
Meeting Agenda

1.APPROVE AGENDA
2.WELCOME – Thomas Roberts, General Manager; Mayor Matt Walsh; Brenda Mainwaring, President and CEO, Iowa West Racing Association
3.APPROVE MINUTES – From March 3, 2022 Commission Meeting
4.ANNOUNCEMENTS
A. May 2022 – No Meeting
B. June 2, 2022 – Wild Rose Emmetsburg, Emmetsburg
C. Proposed Meeting Dates for FY 23
5.ADVANCE DEPOSIT SPORTS WAGERING OPERATOR AGREEMENT – Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C. – Request Approval of Market Access Agreement with Gambit Sportsbook Corporation
6.REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF REVISED SECURITY PLAN
A. Harveys Iowa Management Company LLC
B. Harveys BR Management Company, Inc. d/b/a Horseshoe Casino
7. REVIEW OF FACILITIES’ FINANCIAL AUDITS
A. Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs, LLC
B. Casino Queen Marquette, Inc.
C. Catfish Bend Casinos II, LLC
D. Diamond Jo, LLC d/b/a Diamond Jo Casino
E. Diamond Jo Worth, LLC d/b/a Diamond Jo Worth
F. Dubuque Racing Association, LTD
G. Harveys Iowa Management Company LLC
H. IOC Black Hawk County, Inc. d/b/a Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo
I. Isle of Capri Bettendorf, L.C.
J. Horseshoe Casino (A Facility under License to Iowa West Racing Association)
K. Iowa West Racing Association
L. HGI-Lakeside, LLC
M. SCE Partners, LLC d/b/a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City
N. Wild Rose Clinton, L.L.C.
O. Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C.
P. Wild Rose Jefferson, L.L.C.
Q. Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, LLC
R. Grand Falls Casino Resort, LLC
S. Rhythm City Casino, LLC
T. Iowa Greyhound Association d/b/a Iowa Greyhound Park
U. Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Inc.
8. CONTRACT APPROVALS (OSV – OUT OF STATE VENDOR; RP – RELATED PARTY)
A. Harveys Iowa Management Company LLC
1. Centimark – Construction Vendor
2. TK Elevators – Vertical Transportation Vendor
B. Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs
1. HQ Asphalt – Construction Vendor
2. Omaha Neon – Signage Vendor
3. TK Elevator – Vertical Transportation Vendor
C. IOC Black Hawk County, LLC – Atlantic Bottling Company – Coca-Cola Vendor/Beverage Vendor
D. Wild Rose Clinton, L.L.C.
1. Everi Cash Access – Check Cashing Services, Credit Card and ATMs (OSV)
2. Altofer, Inc. – Maintenance Plan for Power Generation System
3. Liebl Marketing Group – Marketing Agency for Advertisement
4. Myers-Cox – Purchase Cigarette & Tobacco Products for Resale
E. Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C. – Premier Mechanical – Replace HVAC Units
F. Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, LLC – Trane US Inc. – 5-Year Chiller Select Service Agreement
G. Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort, LLC
1. Barkley Asphalt, Inc. – Parking Lot Repairs
2. Cart Construction – Remodel Project: Tile Demo & Install
3. Rhythm City Casino – Shared Services: Goods and Services Allocation (RP)
4. USA Entertainment Agency – Entertainment Booking Agency
H. SCE Partners, LLC
1. Loffler – Printer/Copier Lease
2. AJR Equities, Inc. – Promotional Items
3. Johnson Brothers of Iowa, Inc. – Wine/Beverages
4. Global Payments – Sports Betting Player Funded Online Deposit/Withdrawal Account Services (OSV)
5. Play+ d/b/a Sightline Payments, LLC – Sports Betting Player Funded Online Deposit/Withdrawal Account Services (OSV)
6. PayNearMe MT, Inc. - Sports Betting Player Funded Online Deposit/Withdrawal Account Services (OSV)
7. Lago Resort & Casino LLC d/b/a Lago Resort – Purchase 4 Used NRT Kiosks (OSV)
I. Diamond Jo, LLC – Johnson Controls, Inc. – Service Agreement for Facility’s HVAC Systems
J. Diamond Jo Worth, LLC
1. Determan Electric – Service Relocation for Generators
2. Ziegler, Inc. – Switchgear and Control Panel Upgrade for Generators
K. Dubuque Racing Association, Ltd.
1. Another Round Liquor – Liquor Purchases
2. Wired Production Group – Staging, Equipment & Staff for Concerts
9. IOWA GREYHOUND ASSOCIATION d/b/a IOWA GREYHOUND PARK
A. Update on 2022 Meet
B. Request to Adjust Purse Amounts for 2022 Live Race Meet
10. PRAIRIE MEADOWS RACETRACK & CASINO, INC. d/b/a PRAIRIE MEADOWS RACETRACK & CASINO
A. Update on 2022 Meet
B. Advance Deposit Wagering Operator Agreement – Premier Turf Club
C. Contract: Wolf Construction Services – Roof Repairs
11. HEARINGS
A. Betfair Interactive US LLC – For a violation of Iowa Code § 99F.4(22) (Self-Exclusion)
B. FanDuel, Inc. – For a violation of Iowa Code § 99F.4(22) (Self-Exclusion)
C. Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Inc. – For a violation of Iowa Code §99F.4(22) (Self-Exclusion)
D. Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Inc. – For a violation of Iowa Code §99F.9(5) (Minor)
12. PUBLIC COMMENT
13. ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS
A. Approval of Horse Racing Promotion Fund
B. HISA Update
14. ADJOURN

Meeting Minutes Document:
Meeting Minutes

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) met at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Commission members present were Julie Andres, Chair; Daryl Olsen, Vice Chair and members Amy Burkhart, Mark Campbell and Lance Horbach.

APPROVE AGENDA: Chair Andres called the meeting to order at 8:30 AM.  She advised staff had received a request to withdraw items 4, 5, and 6 under Agenda Item 8H.  Chair Andres requested a motion to approve the agenda as amended.  Commissioner Burkhart so moved.  Commissioner Campbell seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

WELCOME: Thomas Roberts, General Manager, welcomed the Commission to Council Bluffs, and expressed Horseshoe Casino’s appreciation for the opportunity to host the meeting.  He introduced Brenda Mainwaring, President and CEO of the Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA) and Iowa West Foundation (IWF).

Ms. Mainwaring talked about what the gaming revenue received from the Council Bluffs properties has done for the city.  She stated the Mid-America Center represents IWF’s largest investment on behalf of the community. This facility, hotels, sports facility, the soccer complex, and retail center represent what IWF has been able to do for the community because of the participation, foresight of the Legislature and the Commission’s help.  She presented a power point presentation showing what is coming to the riverfront and will represent their second largest investment in the community.  She noted the forthcoming development is a collaboration between private and public funds; $80 million is coming from private donations with the bulk of it coming from IWF. Construction on the park is ready to begin, the Council Bluffs Pavilion is already built, and Belle’s Play Garden and Toddler Garden will open in June.  This fall construction will commence on the Tree Top Walk, which will come off the Bob Kerry Bridge and will be above the flood zone. The walk will include an Adventure Tower, an Olympic-qualifying Climbing Wall, a two-story caving feature, and a Tandem Roller Glide, which is a cross between a tree top roller and roller coaster.  There will be a multi-feature trail located between the I-480 bridge and Harrah’s.  Ms. Mainwaring stated Omaha, Council Bluffs and the Chamber have been working on the “Urban Core”; noting Council Bluffs is a significant part of the success of the Omaha metro Urban Core.  The Dodge Park golf course will be tied to Omaha with a transit and pedestrian bridge. 

APPROVE MINUTES: Chair Andres moved to the approval of the minutes from the March 3, 2022 Commission meeting.  Commissioner Horbach moved to approve the minutes as submitted.  Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Brian Ohorilko, Administrator of IRGC, advised there would be no meeting in May.  The next Commission meeting would be held on June 2nd at Wild Rose Emmetsburg.

Mr. Ohorilko announced the following meeting dates for Fiscal Year 2023:

  • July 8, 2022 – Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Altoona, IA
  • August 25, 2022 – Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, Riverside, IA
  • September 29, 2022 – Diamond Jo Worth, Northwood, IA
  • November 17, 2022 – Rhythm City Casino, Davenport, IA
  • January 26, 2023 – TBD
  • March 2, 2023 – Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Altoona, IA
  • April 20, 2023 – Ameristar Casino, Council Bluffs, IA
  • June 15, 2023 – IOC Black Hawk County, Waterloo, IA

Mr. Ohorilko noted the July 8th meeting is on a Friday.  The meeting will be held in the afternoon, and the Commission members will attend the races that evening.

Mr. Ohorilko introduced the following IRGC staff assigned to the Council Bluffs properties: Cory Ostermeyer, Gaming Representative at Horseshoe Casino; Lori Cap and Bryan Crowdy, Gaming Representatives at Ameristar Casino; Jeff Rethmeier, Gaming Representative at Harrah’s, and Deb Kissel, Licensing Assistant for all three properties, with her office located at Horseshoe Casino. He thanked them for their work on behalf of IRGC.

Mr. Ohorilko stated that the Commission will announce the due date for any Cedar Rapids applications.

ADVANCE DEPOSIT SPORTS WAGERING OPERATOR AGREEMENT: Rick Gilson, Director of Operations for Wild Rose Entertainment, presented an agreement with Gambit Sportsbook Corporation. He advised Gambit is a start-up company and Iowa is probably the first state in which they are seeking licensure.  They are based out of Ohio; Justin Perez, CEO and founder, worked in the sports arena for some of the largest collegiate football teams in the United States.  Based on an idea, he started Gambit, which has a different spin on what they intend to do and how they intend to operate.  Mr. Gilson stated Gambit utilizes a lot of different social influencers and people who like to beat the books.  These individuals are incorporated into his portfolio; bettors are able to select some of those individuals to help them pick their games.  Mr. Gilson stated the person would have to log on to their own app in order to place the bet.

Mr. Ohorilko advised staff had concerns upon performing their initial due diligence as the website indicates that individuals would browse available funds, choose a fund and buy shares of the fund.  Staff was not certain those activities were permitted under Iowa law; however, through conversations with Mr. Perez, staff learned the process is exactly as set forth by Mr. Gilson.  Gambit is bringing the expert handicappers together with the public.  Mr. Perez stated they were keeping the language similar to Wall Street; a fund expert is an expert in the industry or handicapper, they are not technically advising which funds to buy..  Mr. Ohorilko stated he would recommend approval as staff would have an opportunity for further review during the licensing process.

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Campbell moved to approve the Market Access Agreement between Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C. and Gambit Sportsbook Corporation.  Commissioner Horbach seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF REVISED SECURITY PLAN:                  
Harveys Iowa Management Company, LLC and Harveys BR Management Company, Inc. d/b/a Horseshoe Casino: Thomas Roberts, General Manager, stated the request before the Commission is to adjust the security plans approved with the license renewal applications.  He stated the properties are trying to allow 18-year old individuals to become security officers.  Mr. Roberts stated they need to figure out how to get more people on staff or will need to look at limiting hours of operation. 

Commissioner Burkhart asked what the training plan would be for these individuals.  Mr. Roberts stated the training would be no different than for other individuals.  He advised after two minors gained entrance to the casino floor, they initiated a comprehensive training plan and added a facial recognition system.  They are doing monthly and quarterly updates on training with the current team.  Mr. Roberts stated there is always an opportunity for someone to miss something at the front door; they just need to insure staff follows the procedures/processes in place.

Chair Andres asked why they felt lowering the age would increase their pool of applicants.  Mr. Roberts stated they have applicants attending the junior college that are in the criminal justice program.  He advised they currently hire 18-year olds for positions in food service and housekeeping; however, they have to turn away that age group when they inquire about positions in security. 

Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Ohorilko how many other security plans allow 18-year olds.  Mr. Ohorilko stated he did not have an answer.  Mr. Roberts stated that Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo and Ameristar allow 18-year olds on their security staff; this is not something new to the industry.

Commissioner Horbach stated he could agree to the proposal as long as the properties understand that it puts more pressure on the facilities should a mishap occur. He stated any mitigation the facilities take to eliminate incidental errors where age is an issue will be to their benefit.

Commissioner Burkhart noted that just because the facilities could hire 18-year olds for security positions doesn’t mean they should. She suggested they look at other means for attracting employees.  Mr. Roberts stated they have added sign-on bonuses and increased wages.

Commissioner Olsen stated this proposal causes him heartburn and advised them to be very careful. He indicated his support of the request.

Hearing no further comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Horbach moved to approve the request from Harveys Iowa Management Company, LLC and Harveys BR Management Company, Inc. d/b/a Horseshoe Casino to utilize 18-year old individuals on the security team.  Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

REVIEW OF FACILITIES’ FINANCIAL AUDITS:  
Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs, LLC: Paul Czak, General Manager, advised there were no significant audit findings for Penn National Gaming, and none for Council Bluffs. 

Commissioner Burkhart asked for the number of employees and payroll currently as it appears they are about 71% under payroll from 2019 and around 60% of the number of employees for 2019, and the reasons behind those figures.

Mr. Czak stated Ameristar had around 700 employees in 2019 and currently has about 520.  He stated there are some services that are not open; valet and the buffet are not open, and both take a large number of employees.

Commissioner Horbach noted revenues have bounced back with fewer employees.  He asked Mr. Czak about his strategy and whether those services would reopen. 

Mr. Czak stated last year was a very good year, and the half year for 2020 was very good. Net revenues are higher than they have ever been.  He noted they do not have a breakfast option available in the restaurant; he indicated if he could hire nine individuals, he would open the restaurant for breakfast.

Commissioner Olsen noted the financial referenced Hurricane Laura and business interruption insurance.  He asked if Ameristar Council Bluffs carries business interruption insurance.

Mr. Czak answered in the affirmative, stating every property in their brand does.  He stated Hurricane Laura hit the Lake Charles property, which is one of the largest casinos in the industry, and also impacted Baton Rouge.  He noted most of the hotel rooms at Lake Charles have not reopened.

Commissioner Olsen stated the financial referenced foreign currency.  Mr. Czak stated Penn National Gaming owns TheScoreBet, a Canadian company.  He indicated he could not specifically say what that was referencing.

Casino Queen Marquette, Inc.: Robin Corbeil, Director of Finance, advised the audit contained one material concern, which was removed; otherwise, they had a clean audit.

Commissioner Olsen stated it was a very straight forward financial, and was easy to understand; the company had a profitable year.  He encouraged them to make some improvements to the Iowa property. 

Catfish Bend Casinos II, L.C.: Rob Higgins and Donald Spears, General Manager and Chief Financial Officer respectively, were present to address the audit.  Mr. Higgins stated he prefers to compare 2021 and 2019.  Mr. Higgins stated the revenue to the bottom line was up.  He noted they spent $3 million renovating the family entertainment hotel, and are in the planning stages of renovating the Catfish Bend Casino Inn & Spa.  Mr. Higgins stated they are in the planning and design stage to renovate the gaming floor.  He noted they make sure the gaming floor is fresh even though they are one of the smaller casino operations in the state.  Mr. Higgins anticipates these renovations will occur in 2022-2023.

Commissioner Horbach noted that about six years ago it appears the facility had a downward trend early on, and then was fairly stable. He asked what caused the increase. 

Mr. Higgins advised that for most of 2015, 2016 and s small portion of 2017, a new $1 billion fertilizer plant was built just south of Burlington, which brought in about 2,500 construction workers.  Several of the workers spent a lot of time in Burlington and at the casino.  Mr. Higgins estimated revenue increased approximately 12% in 2015 from 2014. 

Commissioner Olsen noted the audit stated there is a requirement by Iowa Racing and Gaming to have an operating note capable of paying gaming taxes on file.  He asked Mr. Ohorilko if that was consistent for all of the casinos.

Mr. Ohorilko answered in the affirmative, advising that every facility has a bond, note or Letter of Credit on file that guarantees two weeks of gaming taxes.  The amount of the bond, note or Letter of Credit is based on the two highest consecutive weeks of gaming revenue from the previous year.

Commissioner Olsen asked if staff was checking as not every audit mentioned this item.  Mr. Ohorilko advised it is something Commission staff verifies prior to the license renewals.

Commissioner Campbell noted wages paid in 2019 and 2021 were approximately $1 million different.  He asked if that was due to a change.  Mr. Higgins stated the answer is a combination of things.  They have become more efficient with the staff they have; wages have increased; and the buffet is not open, but are in the planning stages to renovate the space for another restaurant.  He stated the property is getting ready to start serving breakfast in the Boogaloo Café.  Valet services are also not open.  They have also changed their hours of operation.

Commissioner Horbach stated he receives more questions from the public as to when the buffets will reopen at the casinos.  Mr. Higgins stated it is an operational thing; buffets are expensive to operate.

Diamond Jo, LLC d/b/a Diamond Jo Casino: Jennifer Cox, Director of Finance, expressed regrets on behalf of Wendy Runde, General Manager, who was unable to attend the meeting.  She advised 2021 was a record-breaking year for the Diamond Jo: Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) - $99 million, which exceeded the previous record set in 2019 by 39% or $27.5 million; and exceeded 2020 GGR by $46 million, or 87%.  The property saw 677,000 visitors in 2021, up 14,000 or 2% over 2020, but down 250,000 or 27% from 2019.  Ms. Cox stated the banquet rooms and live event center are seeing an increase in bookings for weddings and concert goers, but advised numbers have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.  Total economic impact for 2021 was $46 million; $842,000 was for specialized purchases. Of the remaining $45.2 million, 99.43% or $41.7 million was spent with Iowa vendors or paid in taxes. Total taxes paid include property and payroll taxes in excess of $22.5 million, with just over $19 million being paid in gaming taxes to the State of Iowa, City of Dubuque and Dubuque County.  Ms. Cox advised total payroll and benefits was just over $10 million, and the property had 304 team members as of December 31st, down from 472 at the end of 2019.  The facility currently has 53 open positions. Ms. Cox stated Boyd Gaming, in addition to referral and sign-on bonuses introduced in 2021, has increased the minimum starting wage to $15.00/hour effective March 2022. Holiday bonuses and an additional all team member bonus was announced in December 2021 and paid out in February 2022.  Contributions to Dubuque Racing Association totaled just over $3.6 million.  Diamond Jo also paid out miscellaneous donations throughout the year in excess of $60,000.  In 2021, Boyd Gaming rolled out the “Giving the Boyd Way” program, which encourages team members to give back to and be involved in their local communities.  Ms. Cox stated Diamond Jo lead the region in team member participation.  In recognition of Diamond Jo and its team members, Boyd Gaming donated $10,000 to be given to a non-profit of their choice; they selected Veterans’ Freedom Center located in Dubuque.  The organization will receive the funds on Veteran’s Day 2022 at the Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Ms. Cox stated 2021 capital expenditures, including slot purchases, exceeded $2.8 million.  In November 2021, new carpet was installed on the casino floor and banquet rooms.  New slot chairs were purchased, and the audio system and gaming software system were upgraded.  Capital expenditures in excess of $2.3 million for 2022 include a redesign of the buffet space, a facelift for the main bar on the casino floor, a new Point of Sale system, and the final stage to convert the surveillance system from analog to digital.

Diamond Jo Worth, LLC d/b/a Diamond Jo Worth: Scott Smith, General Manager, stated the property continues to attract guests; gross gaming revenue for 2021 was just over $109 million, or an increase of $39 million year-over-year, and $24 million more than 2019.  He noted staffing is a challenge; in 2019 the facility had 331 team members, finished 2020 at 301, and ended 2021 with 270 team members.  Mr. Smith stated the employee numbers are not about efficiency and finding labor cuts; they are unable to find staff.  He stated in that area other venues and restaurants are starting to close early much like what occurred during the heat of the pandemic.  In November, DJW was the first Boyd Gaming facility to make a commitment to raise all non-tipped hourly wages to $15.00 or above; the average starting rate at this time is $17.23 for team members.  They continue to offer sign on bonuses up to $2,500 and referral bonuses up to $1,000. Team members are trying to do whatever they can to serve the patrons.  Mr. Smith stated the property has achieved some of the highest guest service scores they have ever had during the first quarter of this year.  He acknowledged the dedication and loyalty of the team members, and the support Boyd Gaming provides to the property and employees.  Mr. Smith stated they partner with area schools and Workforce Development in Iowa and Minnesota to attract employees.  He stated the sportsbook has been a huge success; DJW is one of the leaders on the retail side with $55.8 million in handle last year and revenue of $5.7 million.  Mr. Smith noted the original location of the sportsbook was expanded one year later to accommodate the volume, and continues to be one of the nicest sportsbooks in the state.  Mr. Smith stated the Worth County Development Authority received $6.1 million for distribution, and has received over $77 million since inception.

Commissioner Horbach asked how many positions were open at the facility.  Mr. Smith stated if he had the ability to hire 100 individuals, he would do so.  Commissioner Horbach noted the facility is down to 254 employees and asked how many he wants to get back.  Mr. Smith stated he would feel comfortable with75 positions.  He stated that if someone in Security calls off, it has a domino effect and causes additional pressure and stress on the existing staff.  He stated the facility tries to do things to show their appreciation to help alleviate that.  Mr. Smith stated that through the pandemic, it has become evident that people don’t want to work nights or weekends, however, that is not an option in the casino industry.

Dubuque Racing Association (DRA): Alex Dixon, President and CEO, advised they will be rolling out a new brand later this month.  He noted the final season of live greyhound racing in Dubuque starts this weekend, and DRA will be honoring them at the end of the season for all of their contributions to the City of Dubuque.  He stated DRA is working with various partners to take advantage of their status as a 501c(4) non-profit and their new status as a 501c(3) non-profit.  They are working with the City of Dubuque to market Dubuque as a gaming destination.  He noted the Cincinnati Reds baseball team will be playing at the Field of Dreams location in Dyersville; Q Casino will host the team and all of the season ticket holders prior to the game.  They will also be sponsoring a golf tournament in Galena to promote travel to Dubuque as a destination.  Mr. Dixon stated the audit was straightforward and would be happy to answer any questions.

Commissioner Burkhart stated DRA has some of the strongest return-to-work numbers with 86% of the workforce they had in 2019 and equal payroll.  She commended them on their numbers, and asked their secret to success. 

Mr. Dixon stated they benefited from a stable work force.  He stated when he arrived on property front line cooks were receiving $13.00/hour, they are now paying them $20.00.  Employees also received a bonus of $100 for every year of service.  He noted money can not solve all of the problems, and DRA has the same concerns as all of the other facilities.  Mr. Dixon advised DRA is offering job opportunities to, and have absorbed, some employees from the racetrack.  He advised there are a number of outlets that are not open on the property; they would do so if they had the employees.  He stated valet is open as they don’t have a parking garage.

Harveys Iowa Management Company, LLC: Janae Sternberg, Vice President of Finance for Harrah’s and Horseshoe, stated they received a clean audit with no material weaknesses.  She advised payroll spend is up over 2020 by $13.4 million compared to just over $9 million the prior year.  Ms. Sternberg stated they have implemented increases for nearly all of the front-line staff and are near $15.00 for all employees at Harrah’s, as well as paying a bonus to all employees. She stated the facilities currently have 354 employees, but have 135 openings between Harrah’s and Horseshoe.  She advised the buffet is not open at either location, but noted they have opened Slice Pizzeria in the buffet space at Harrah’s.  Valet operations are not open at either facility.  Ms. Sternberg advised there was a significant increase in the marketing spend year-over-year. The Stir Cove concert series did not take place in 2020, and had a limited number of concerts in 2021, however, the drive is back and they expect to have a full concert series this year.

Ms. Sternberg advised regulatory taxes and fees were $16.2 million, up from $9.8 million the prior year; and capital spend for 2021 was just over $1 million. She noted there are several large projects that have been shared with the Commission that will be occurring in 2022 due to supply chain issues and availability of companies to perform the work.  She stated they did complete the Slice Pizzeria, landscaping, new signage at Harrah’s, new HVAC equipment and the front entrance.  In 2022, the skylights will be replaced, a restaurant remodel pending Commission approval, and additional items yet to be announced.

Commissioner Horbach stated that based on the numbers, Harrah’s and Horseshoe took a huge hit in 2020, but noted Ms. Sternberg had provided the answer in her comments.  Ms. Sternberg stated the lack of the concert series was a large piece, but noted Harrah’s did not reopen until July 1st whereas most properties opened the end of May/first part of June.

Commissioner Olsen noted Caesar’s Entertainment owns 52 domestic properties in 16 states with four of those properties in Iowa so Iowa is important to Caesar’s.  In reviewing revenue numbers, he noted that Harrah’s revenue has not changed while other properties have experienced large increases.  Ms. Sternberg attributed that to the stability of the Council Bluffs market, and the fact that Harrah’s is much smaller than some of the properties.  She stated the market isn’t growing; and has declined about 1% every year since early 2000.

IOC Black Hawk County, Inc. d/b/a Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo: Meagan Miller, Director of Finance, stated the facility had a substantial economic impact in Iowa in 2021 with over $10 million in payroll and benefits, and a total spend with Iowa vendors in excess of $3 million.  She stated 2021 was a record year, despite many challenges as previously noted by other properties.  Ms. Miller stated they are looking forward to the upcoming capital reinvestment in the property which includes the arcade expansion, complete hotel remodel and other enhancements.  She stated they received a clean financial audit with no material weaknesses. 

Commissioner Campbell asked about staffing issues the property may be experiencing, and what steps they have taken.  Ms. Miller stated they have increased wages in every area of operation, and have instituted sign on and referral bonuses in order to recruit employees and retain them.  She advised they have seen an uptick in applications since instituting the bonuses.

Isle of Capri Bettendorf, L.C.: Nancy Ballenger, General Manager, stated the property benefited from Illinois closing their casinos and the video gaming terminals.  There are two sister properties in close proximity, Joliet and Victoria/Elgin, so their VIP players were directed to Bettendorf.  The Iowa economic impact was $46 million with $11 million going to payroll and benefits.  Ms. Ballenger stated they were able to pay bonuses to the employees, which were based on performance.  From a staffing standpoint, she noted the buffet is not open, and their biggest staffing issue is in their banquet area.  The property has 40,000 square feet of meeting space; the bookings for conventions and weddings are strong for 2022.  Ms. Ballenger noted they had a clean audit.

Horseshoe Casino (A Facility under License to Iowa West Racing Association: Ms. Sternberg advised payroll spend was up approximately $2.5 million; regulatory taxes and fees were $49.3 million. Capital spend was $1.4 million, which included some new plumbing, HVAC units, new key boxes, concrete replacement, a security vehicle and other safety enhancements.  She stated the Commission would see some improvements in capital spending for 2022 as the Hilton Garden Inn remodel is scheduled to start at the end of the year.  There are plans to do some back-of-house improvements for the employees, refresh the hallways and employee dining room, and some landscaping around the building.  She stated Horseshoe currently has 584 employees and reiterated there are 135 positions open between Horseshoe and Harrah’s.  Ms. Sternberg advised they had a clean audit.

Chair Andres asked Ms. Sternberg if she is confident the Hilton Garden Inn remodel will happen, noting that it has been planned for some time.  Ms. Sternberg stated the design construction team has been in to do the pre-requisites, and they expect the construction vendor to be named by the end of the month.  The intent is to start the remodel in late summer/early fall, and it should take about four months.

Commissioner Olsen stated the property had capitalized the repairs that were done last year, but he feels those were more repairs than true capital improvements.  He asked how the property looks at it from their standpoint and how is it reflected on the financial.  Ms. Sternberg concurred that it does look like repairs, but the plumbing issue was a complete replacement of all of the plumbing lines so it was capitalized; it was an emergency capital expenditure that was not planned for. When the budget is prepared, the capital budget is the first portion and starts in July of the prior year.  The plumbing line replacement was approximately $600,000.  She stated the key boxes and HVAC units were replacement capital.

Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA): Ms. Mainwaring and Jackie Dix, Controller, were present to address the audit. Ms. Mainwaring introduced some IWRA Board members in attendance.  She stated they had a clean audit, and advised staff had been provided a letter with regard to distributions.  Ms. Mainwaring stated in 1995 the IWRA created the Iowa West Foundation, a private non-profit which allows them to accumulate assets.  For many years, IWRA has allocated the entire annual license fees less appropriate expenses for charitable distribution throughout the region.  Since 2000, the Iowa West Foundation has expended approximately $20 million annually, which includes the IWRA fees and returns on the investments the Iowa West Foundation has. Ms. Mainwaring advised both foundations are jointly governed by a council of members which are assigned to one or the other board based on statutes and regulations, and their own by-laws.  All council members, as well as representatives from the three casinos, serve on the grant review committee.

HGI-Lakeside, LLC: David Monroe and Mike Ziemer, General Manager and Director of Finance respectively, were present to address the financial audit.  Mr. Monroe stated 2021 was an amazing year with all kinds of records being set.  He advised some services were eliminated in order to focus on guest safety and code compliance; any spare labor was utilized to focus on the guest experience.  Mr. Monroe stated the property is down approximately 50 full-time employees.  He advised the facility has increased wages across the board, is utilizing recruiters, and has instituted referral and sign on bonuses.  Mr. Monroe noted they are located in a small community with a low unemployment rate.  In spite of all that, Mr. Monroe stated it was a successful year, and is optimistic they will be able to increase the number of events booked..  He stated due to the labor shortage and construction, they did not have any convention business last year, but hope to ramp that back up in 2022 and get back into the entertainment business in the second half of this year.  Mr. Monroe stated no material weaknesses were identified in the audit.

Commissioner Horbach concurred with Mr. Monroe’s comment that they are located in a tough market.  He noted the facility recently opened their sportsbook and asked if it was well received and if it would continue to serve as a draw for them going forward.    

Mr. Monroe stated the feedback has been very favorable, not only to the sportsbook but also to the physical changes to the facility.  He stated due to their proximity to the Missouri border, the property sees visitors from Kansas and Missouri who come to spend the weekend and utilize the sportsbook.

SCE Partners, LLC d/b/a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City: Doug Fisher, General Manager, introduced Todd Moyer, Chief Marketing Officer from P2E, and Andrew Limoges, Director of Finance.  Mr. Fisher stated the property has 355 team members, and 50 open positions.  In 2021, $2 million was allocated for capital expenditures, and $3 million is budgeted for 2022, including refurbishing the hotel rooms.  He advised the buffet and valet services are not open.

Commissioner Burkhart asked if there are plans to reopen the buffet and valet services.  Mr. Fisher stated they do not intend to reopen the buffet; however, the space is utilized for VIP events, Christmas parties, and other events. 

Wild Rose Clinton, L.L.C, Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C.; Wild Rose Jefferson, L.L.C..: Tom Timmons, President of Wild Rose Entertainment, LLC, requested permissions to handle all three Wild Rose property financials at the same time.  Chair Andres answered in the affirmative.

Mr. Timmons stated 2021 was a good year; Clinton had their eighth best year ever in gaming revenue; Emmetsburg had their fourth best year, and Jefferson had their best year ever in revenue.  He stated they spent a significant amount on capital as they redid the parking lot in Emmetsburg and are replacing rooftop HVAC units at Emmetsburg.  Mr. Timmons stated Wild Rose spent more on cap ex last year than the two previous years.  He concurred with comments from other properties with regard to staffing issues, adding that they may hire 2-3, and lose 3-4. 

Commissioner Olsen asked if the hotel at the Jefferson location was owned by another entity.  Mr. Timmons answered in the affirmative; Wild Rose owns the ground and the hotel leases the ground.  He noted that when Wild Rose was granted the license in Jefferson, Cobblestone had already been working with local residents to put up a 35-room hotel.  Rather than Wild Rose building a separate hotel, Cobblestone agreed to double the size of the proposed hotel.  Mr. Timmons stated Wild Rose reserves a specific number of rooms per day as part of the lease.  Commissioner Olsen asked if Wild Rose has any control over the hotel as repairs were slow after the storm. Mr. Timmons stated Wild Rose has no control, but advised Cobblestone did some remodeling of the facility while it was closed.

Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, LLC; Grand Falls Casino Resort, LLC; Rhythm City Casino, LLC: Dan White and Damon John, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager respectively at Riverside, and Sharon Haselhoff, General Manager at Grand Falls, were present to address the consolidated financial audit.

Mr. White stated the consolidate report for Elite Casino Resorts, LLC includes the three casino properties and Elite Hospitality Group.  He stated the audit had a clean opinion and no internal control comments.  Mr. White stated revenues were good last year, but expenses continued to increase and there were supply chain issues.  Payroll for 2021 increased over 2020 and 2019; like other properties, they continue to adjust wages to entice individuals to apply for jobs and retain current staff.  At the end of 2021, they had 1,473 employees, which was flat compared to the previous year.  Mr. White advised there are 100+ openings between the three properties.  Capital expenditures for 2021: finished the hotel addition at Grand Falls and the sportsbook, and started a major renovation of the interior of the property with the casino floor; Riverside completed a $3 million renovation of the Event Center and refreshed the slot product on the floor.  Mr. White stated total cap ex was just under $14 million for 2021, with approximately 96% spent with Iowa vendors.

Commissioner Campbell commended the three properties on their cap ex and the appearance of their facilities.  Mr. White stated they take pride in the appearance of their facilities.

Commissioner Olsen stated their financial audit was the easiest to read and interpret, very transparent and provided a lot of information. He stated the company is in a very solid position.

Commissioner Burkhart noted Mr. White had indicated there are approximately 100 job openings between the three properties, and in reviewing information provided, it appears the majority are at Riverside.  She asked if that was correct.  Mr. White stated Riverside has the highest number of employees so believes they would also have the highest number of openings. 

Commissioner Horbach commented on the growth of the net revenues from 2019, and thought expenses were being cut.  He complimented Elite Casino Resorts and the other properties on being able to capture the net revenue growth in the face of staffing issues.  He stated the Commission understands the environment and the challenges the industry is facing.

Mr. White stated they recently paid out the first quarter profit-sharing to the employees, and it was one of the highest payouts.  He advised they adjusted the percentage the employees receive. 

Iowa Greyhound Association: Brian Carpenter, General Manager/Director of Racing, stated they received a clean audit with no material weaknesses noted. He stated they are where they expected to be financially.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Inc.: Gary Palmer, General Manager, stated the adjusted gross revenues for last year were the best Prairie Meadows has had since opening in 1989.  Revenues were $225 million, taxes paid to the community and State exceeded $57 million, which included racing, sportsbook and gaming.  Wages, salaries and benefits exceeded $48 million, and operating expenses were $57 million.  Charitable contributions for 2021 and going into 2022, which includes contractual obligations to the City of Des Moines, Polk County, schools, and legacy community grants, were the highest ever and totaled $31 million   Mr. Palmer stated since 1996, Prairie Meadows has contributed over $2 billion in charitable contributions.  Scheduled cap ex for this year is $10 million in addition to a $12 million hotel renovation.  For 2023, they plan to renovate the casino floor and all restrooms.

Mr. Palmer stated Prairie Meadows distributes between 15% - 18% of adjusted gross revenues to charitable organizations.  He advised they had a clean audit.  Their economic impact on the State of Iowa was $162,749,000; 98% of their spend for goods and services is with Iowa vendors. They currently have 900 employees, down from 1,218 in 2020 when they closed due to Covid. They currently have 125 openings. They are in the process of hiring 60 seasonal employees for the live race meet.  Mr. Palmer stated they have exceeded their revenue budgets in all areas for the first quarter of this year, and are hoping 2022 will be a great year as well.  He stated purses for the horsemen for this year will be almost $25 million.

Commissioner Olsen noted the financial audit showed no debt, and $787 million paid to Polk County since inception. Commissioner Olsen noted Mr. Palmer indicated 1,200 employees pre-pandemic with current employee numbers at 900.  He asked how Prairie Meadows is reaching those efficiency levels or what services are not being provided.  Mr. Palmer noted the buffet is closed; valet is currently closed but plan to reopen it on October 1st.  He stated the convention business is really picking up and they are trying to fill positions in the banquet area. He advised they are working smarter, have increased the span of control in some areas and are adjusting to the market.

Commissioner Olsen stated he just wanted to be sure services were being provided to insure everyone has a good experience.

CONTRACT APPROVALS (OSV – OUT OF STATE VENDOR; RP – RELATED PARTY):
Harvey’s Iowa Management Company LLC: Mr. Roberts presented the following contracts for Commission approval:

  • Centimark – Construction Vendor
  • TK Elevators – Vertical Transportation Vendor

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Campbell moved to approve the contracts as submitted by Harveys Iowa Management Company LLC.  Commissioner Horbach seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs: Mr. Roberts presented the following contracts for Commission approval:

  • HQ Asphalt – Construction Vendor
  • Omaha Neon – Signage Vendor
  • TK Elevator – Vertical Transportation Vendor

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Burkhart moved to approve the contracts as submitted by Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs.  Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

IOC Black Hawk County, LLC: Chad Moine, General Manager, presented a contract with Atlantic Bottling Company as a vendor for Coca-Cola and other beverage products.

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Olsen moved to approve the contract as submitted.  Commissioner Horbach seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Wild Rose Clinton, L.L.C.: Steve Cody, General Manager at Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C., presented the following contracts for Commission approval:

  • Everi Cash Access – Check Cashing Services, Credit Card and ATMs (OSV)
  • Altofer, Inc. – Maintenance Plan for Power Generation System
  • Liebl Marketing Group – Marketing Agency for Advertisement
  • Myers-Cox – Purchase Cigarette & Tobacco Products for Resale

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Horbach moved to approve the contracts as submitted by Wild Rose Clinton, L.L.C.  Commissioner Campbell seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C.: Mr. Cody presented a contract with Premier Mechanical for the replacement of HVAC units.

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Campbell moved to approve the contract as submitted by Wild Rose Emmetsburg, L.L.C.  Commissioner Burkhart seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, LLC: Mr. John presented a contract with Trane US Inc. for a 5-Year Chiller Select Service Agreement.

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Burkhart moved to approve the contract as submitted by Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, LLC.  Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Grand Falls Casino Resort, LLC: Ms. Haselhoff presented the following contracts for Commission approval:

  • Barkley Asphalt, Inc. – Parking Lot Repairs
  • Cart Construction – Remodel Project: Tile Demo & Install
  • Rhythm City Casino – Shared Services: Goods and Services Allocation (RP)
  • USA Entertainment Agency – Entertainment Booking Agency

Ms. Haselhoff advised the golf course is not open yet.

Commissioner Burkhart asked for an explanation regarding the shared services with Rhythm City.  Ms. Haselhoff advised there are a number of positions shared between the properties and are located at each of the properties as well as some of the programs.  Commissioner Burkhart asked if these costs represent labor costs.  Ms. Haselhoff stated the expenditure is for labor and services. 

Hearing no further comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Horbach moved to approve the contracts as submitted by Grand Falls Casino Resort, LLC.  Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

SCE Partners, LLC:  Mr. Fisher presented the following contracts for Commission approval:

  • Loffler – Printer/Copier Lease
  • AJR Equities, Inc. – Promotional Items
  • Johnson Brothers of Iowa, Inc. – Wine/Beverages
  • Lago Resort & Casino LLC d/b/a Lago Resort – Purchase 4 Used NRT Kiosks (OSV)

Commissioner Horbach inquired as to why the three contracts were pulled from the agenda.  Mr. Fisher advised there was language that needed to be corrected in the contracts.

Commissioner Horbach moved to approve the contracts submitted by SCE Partners, LLC with the amendments noted.  Commissioner Campbell seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Diamond Jo, LLC: Ms. Cox presented a contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. for a service agreement for the facility’s HVAC systems.

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Olsen moved to approve the contract as submitted by Diamond Jo, LLC.  Commissioner Burkhart seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Diamond Jo Worth, LLC:  Mr. Smith presented the following contracts for Commission approval:

  • Determan Electric – Service Relocation for Generators
  • Ziegler, Inc. – Switchgear and Control Panel Upgrade for Generators

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Campbell moved to approve the contracts as submitted by Diamond Jo Worth, LLC.  Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Dubuque Racing Association, Ltd.: Mr. Dixon presented the following contracts for Commission approval:

  • Another Round Liquor – Liquor Purchases
  • Wired Production Group – Staging, Equipment & Staff for Concerts

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Burkhart moved to approve the contracts as submitted by Dubuque Racing Association, Ltd.  Commissioner Campbell seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

IOWA GREYHOUND ASSOCIATION d/b/a IOWA GREYHOUND PARK: Mr. Carpenter addressed the following agenda items:

Update on 2022 Meet: The compound opened on March 1st. Eight of the nine kennels from last year returned.  When the compound opened, they were short on dogs, but when the Iowa Greyhound Association Board started talking about more money, more dogs showed up.  Mr. Carpenter stated today was the last day for official pre-season schooling.  Races have been drawn for opening weekend, April 16-17.  He noted their attorney, Jerry Crawford, has a horse that will be running in the Kentucky Derby.  With regard to staffing for the race meet, Mr. Carpenter advised all of the racing officials from last year returned, but was concerned about lead outs. He stated some of the lead outs from the last three years are returning part-time to help out and finish out the season.  Mr. Carpenter thanked Mr. Dixon and his staff for their help getting things finished up, and advertising the final season and making sure everything is taken care of.

Request to Adjust Purse Amounts for 2022 Live Race Meet: Mr. Carpenter stated they are requesting an increase in the purses for the 2022 meet to get more dogs to the track.  The accountant has assured him there is plenty of money to do so.

Commissioner Horbach noted his company shut down a company, and two years later they are still seeing expenses.  He wanted to be sure Mr. Carpenter and the Iowa Greyhound Association were on guard for that possibility.  Mr. Carpenter stated he and his assistant will remain on staff until August 31st to make sure that everything is taken care of.

Hearing no further comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Horbach moved to approve the change in purse amounts as requested by the Iowa Greyhound Association d/b/a Iowa Greyhound Park.  Commissioner Campbell seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Inc. d/b/a PRAIRIE MEADOWS RACETRACK & CASINO: Mr. Palmer and Derron Heldt, Vice President of Racing, were present to address the following agenda items:

Update on 2022 Meet: Mr. Heldt advised the 84-day mixed meet will commence on May 13th and run through October 2nd.  He stated they had to hire the track superintendent, and were able to hire Robert Blackburn from Remington Park.  He has 14 years of experience at Remington Park, which also runs a mixed meet.  He has also worked at other racetracks in the southwest. Mr. Heldt stated he has been on board about 60 days and has already made some tweaks to the surface that Mr. Heldt felt would be favorable.  Mr. Heldt stated the other hire was a new Racing Secretary, Stuart Slagle, who also has an extensive racing background.  He worked the Kentucky racetrack circuit, as well as in Mexico, New Orleans, and about four years at Woodbine in Canada.  Woodbine conducts races from April to October, and has 40+ graded stakes races.

Mr. Heldt stated stall applications were due April 6th for both thoroughbreds and quarter horses.  He stated they received 1,451 thoroughbred applications for 936 stalls; and 511 quarter horse applications to fill 416 stalls.  He stated there are ample horses to fill the stalls; staff is talking with the trainers to determine the actual number of horses they are bringing.  He stated trainers can start moving horses onto the backside on April 15th.  

Mr. Heldt stated the Prairie Meadows Marketing Department will be meeting on April 29th at 9:30 in the Board Room with the Iowa Quarter Horse Racing Association and the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.  The Marketing Department will present the promotions and advertising plans for the season.  On Friday, May 6th, they will draw the race card for the first day of racing on Friday, May 13th.  On May 10th, there will be a system check; all staff will be in place and all necessary equipment will be checked to insure it is working properly prior to live racing commencing.

Mr. Heldt briefly touched on HISA, noting that Prairie Meadows has been working diligently to try to provide a safe racetrack and ensure the welfare of the horses.  He stated they completed an accreditation application with the NTRA, and have received confirmation representatives will be at the track on May 22nd and 23rd to do an inspection. 

Commissioner Burkhart thanked Prairie Meadows for scheduling the meeting between the Marketing Department and the horsemen’s groups as that was one of the suggestions from the meeting in February.

Commissioner Olsen asked the name of the group performing the accreditation, and if Prairie Meadows had been accredited previously.  Mr. Heldt advised the organization is the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and stated they have not been accredited previously.  He indicated they have worked with an individual who has performed the inspections in the past, and feel comfortable they will receive accreditation.  He stated there may be some areas that need to be tweaked.  Commissioner Olsen asked if they are seeking accreditation because of the new requirements.  Mr. Heldt answered in the affirmative.  Commissioner Olsen stated it was probably a good step and clears up one point of contention.  Mr. Heldt concurred, noting it will also provide staff with a lot of knowledge.  He stated the accreditation is good for three years.

Advance Deposit Wagering Operator Agreement: Mr. Heldt presented an agreement with Premier Turf Club.  He indicated the company is out of Florida, and is seeking permission to operate legally in Iowa. 

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Horbach moved to approve the Advance Deposit Wagering Operator Agreement between Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Inc. and Premier Turf Club, LLC.  Commissioner Campbell seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Contract: Mr. Heldt presented a contract with Wolf Construction Services to make some roof repairs on some of the barns on the backside.

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Burkhart moved to approve the contract as submitted.  Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

HEARINGS:    

Betfair Interactive US LLC: Mr. Ohorilko advised Commission staff and Betfair Interactive, a licensed Advance Deposit Sports Wagering Operator, have entered into a Stipulated Agreement for a violation of Iowa Code § 99F.4(22) (Self-Exclusion) and 491 IAC 13.2(7) “e”, which is an administrative rule covering notification and reporting.  Mr. Ohorilko advised Betfair reported to the Commission that there was a processing error that occurred during an upgrade by FanDuel in their internal system, which reformatted some date of births for individuals downloaded into their list from the Statewide Self Exclusion program. This caused five accounts to be created by individuals that were on the Statewide Self-Exclusion program.  Approximately 600 promotional mailings were sent to those individuals over a six-month period.  Mr. Ohorilko advised the issue was resolved via an improvement in the FanDuel system, and Betfair implemented some additional controls which require a 4-digit identifier for birth dates.  He stated the incident was reported 14 days after the issue was discovered; however, administrative rules require the Commission be notified within 72 hours.  Mr. Ohorilko advised this is the first incident within the past 365 days for Betfair.  He stated the parties have agreed to an administrative penalty between $5,000 - $20,000. 

Commissioner Horbach noted an error had been found in Section 7, the last sentence indicates the account was suspended on July 29, 2001; the motion should correct the date to read July 29, 2021.

Alex Wolf, State Regulatory Compliance Senior Counsel, stated Iowa is an important state to the company, and that problem gambling and self-exclusion are important issues to them as well.  He stated they have invested a tremendous amount of human resources and money to signal identifiers to try to insure nothing slips through the cracks similar to what occurred in the Stipulated Agreement before the Commission today. 

Commissioner Horbach asked about the delay in reporting the incident to the Commission.  Mr. Smith stated it was his understanding there was a breakdown in terms of understanding whether to submit a preliminary report or submitting a final report.  The two-week timeline was the result of their thorough investigation so the report included the root cause and final mitigation steps taken.  Mr. Smith stated they now understand they should submit a preliminary report and follow up with a full report.

Hearing no further comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Horbach moved to approve the Stipulated Agreement, with the correction to the date in Section 7, with Betfair Interactive with an administrative penalty of $10,000.  Commissioner Campbell seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

FanDuel, Inc.: Mr. Ohorilko stated Commission staff and FanDuel, Inc., which operates as a Fantasy Sports Contest provider, have entered into a Stipulated Agreement for a violation of Iowa Code § 99F.4(22) (Self-Exclusion).  He advised one individual was able to create an account, and received 281 promotional contacts.  Mr. Ohorilko stated the root cause of this violation is similar to what was explained in the previous hearing.  He stated FanDuel has agreed to an administrative penalty in an amount between $5,000 and $20,000.

Mr. Wolf advised the cause of this violation was the same issue as he set forth in the Betfair Interactive hearing. 

Commissioner Burkhart asked if this was the first violation in the last 365 days.  Mr. Ohorilko answered in the affirmative.

Commissioner Burkhart moved to approve the Stipulated Agreement with FanDuel, Inc. with an administrative penalty of $10,000.  Commissioner Olsen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Inc.: Mr. Ohorilko stated Commission staff and Prairie Meadows have entered into a Stipulated Agreement for a violation of Iowa Code § 99F.4(22) (Self-Exclusion).  Mr. Ohorilko advised an individual used a self-service kiosk in June 2020 to obtain a Player’s Club card.  The individual received direct mail pieces after the 90-day grace period for individuals that sign up for the self-exclusion program, and also received dining credit and player rewards.  Mr. Ohorilko stated Prairie Meadows did identify the issue upon scanning the individual’s identification upon entry and noticed they were self-excluded.  The security team was notified and discovered the mailings.  Prairie Meadows has agreed to an administrative penalty in an amount between $5,000 and $20,000.  Mr. Ohorilko noted this is the first violation for self-exclusion in the past 365 days.

Mr. Palmer introduced Clint Pursley, Vice President of Security, who stated the issue originated with a software update by a vendor which caused some of the safety issues in place to break.   They worked with the vendor and were able to repair the problem and have had no further issues.  Additionally, they pulled the data from the State’s self-exclusion list and compared it to their list to make sure there were no other issues; none were found. 

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Campbell moved to approve the Stipulated Agreement with Prairie Meadows with an administrative penalty of $5,000.  Commissioner Horbach seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Inc.: Mr. Ohorilko advised Commission staff and Prairie Meadows representatives have agreed to a Stipulated Agreement for a violation of Iowa Code § 99F.9(5) (Minor).  A minor entered the gaming floor on December 3, 2021 with two adults; the individual did gamble and was on the floor for 30 minutes.  Mr. Ohorilko stated there were some circumstances surrounding how Prairie Meadows handled this incident.  The individual attempted to enter the casino two days later, but was asked for identification. The individual was identified as a minor and was not allowed on the floor.  Surveillance showed the individual sitting in a car in the parking lot after he was denied entrance.  Surveillance ran a check on the plates and found the vehicle had been on property on December 3rd and that the individual had been in the casino.  Mr. Ohorilko stated Prairie Meadows has agreed to an administrative penalty of $20,000 for this violation.

Commissioner Olsen expressed his appreciation for Prairie Meadows’ digging into the circumstances surrounding this violation.  Mr. Pursley stated the Surveillance Department follows individuals that are turned away to make sure they do leave the property.

Commissioner Olsen moved to approve the Stipulated Agreement with an administrative penalty of $20,000.  Commissioner Burkhart seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

PUBLIC COMMENT/ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS:  As there was no Public Comment, Chair Andres moved to Administrative Business.

Approval of Horse Racing Promotion Fund: Mr. Ohorilko stated the Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association was the only applicant for the Horse Racing Promotion Fund, which is $2,212.24. 

Hearing no comments or questions, Chair Andres requested a motion.  Commissioner Campbell moved to approve the distribution of the Horse Racing Promotion Fund to the Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association.  Commissioner Horbach seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

HISA Update:  Mr. Ohorilko stated there has been a significant amount of activity the last few weeks with regard to implementation.  He stated the Commission has been notified that areas involving track safety will be enforced commencing July 1st and drug testing will be implemented on January 1st.  With regard to the racetrack safety issue, Mr. Ohorilko advised Commission staff has met twice with representatives from the horse industry, trade associations, and Prairie Meadows over the last six weeks to discuss implementation.  He noted Commission staff has met with HISA officials multiple times over the last month, and has had discussions with other regulators. About two weeks ago, HISA approached Commission staff and asked the Commission to pay an assessment of $215,000 to cover implementation and startup costs from 2021, which includes legal costs.  Mr. Ohorilko advised the Commission is allowed to collect fees from covered person under the federal act; covered persons is defined as those individuals participating in the horse racing industry.  Commission staff has looked into the request and determined IRGC does not have a mechanism to collect monies above and beyond the state appropriation.  Mr. Ohorilko advised staff reached out to the Iowa HBPA to see if they would support legislation that might provide for the use of purse money to help with some of the costs of HISA; however, the Iowa HBPA has indicated they could not support such legislation at this time.  Mr. Ohorilko stated the assessment was much larger than what was anticipated as IRGC really has no authority to collect in excess of the appropriation.  Mr. Ohorilko stated his recommendation would be that the Commission not pay the assessment.  The federal act then contemplates that Prairie Meadows would pay the assessment; PMRC would have the authority to recoup payments from the covered persons through a method approved by HISA. 

HISA has also requested that the Commission sign a Voluntary Implementation Agreement.  He stated there are a series of requirements in the safety act which requires a medical director to oversee various safety protocols for the riders, and someone else assigned to other safety tasks.  Mr. Ohorilko stated he feels the Commission is best equipped to perform these functions, but noted staff has concerns surrounding the implementation as it has been last minute and difficult for regulators.  He noted there are still material concerns and lawsuits filed by the horse industry which have not been resolved.  Mr. Ohorilko stated it was hard for him to recommend the Commission voluntarily agree to sign anything without support from all parties involved in the Iowa industry.  He stated he is not sure what would happen if the Commission does not sign the agreement; however, he believes HISA will bring in individuals to conduct some of the tasks but the Commission may be expected to follow certain federal rules anyhow.

Mr. Ohorilko stated his intention with the update was to inform the Commission as to what was occurring and the intent to notify HISA of the Commission’s answers to the above requests.  He stated this has been difficult for all stakeholders, and noted there is a series of meetings occurring this week with the Association of Racing Commissioners (ARCI).  He stated Ed Martin, President of ARCI, noted at the ARCI national meeting just days ago that HISA is a fact unless a judge says differently, and the industry has to make it work as it will be a reality and the industry has a responsibility to the general public, industry and wonderful animals that are the cornerstone of the sport.  Mr. Ohorilko stated Commission staff will continue to make sure the Commission is in a position to implement the safety aspects on July 1st; but would comply with any court orders that might be issued.  He encouraged everyone to prepare to implement HISA on July 1st.

Commissioner Olsen stated he felt the Commission was making the right moves, and concurred that HISA is going to happen and everyone needs to make the best of the situation and move forward.  He stated there are a lot of positives in the act, but implementation is going to be a problem.  Commissioner Olsen asked for another update at the June Commission meeting.

ADJOURN: Hearing no further business to come before the Commission, Chair Andres requested a motion to adjourn.  Commissioner Burkhart so moved.  Commissioner Campbell seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.