Hard Rock Sioux City Officially Purchased By Churchill Downs

Written By Darren Cooper on November 17, 2022
Iowa's Hard Rock casino in Sioux City purchase finalized

Thanks to the New York State Gaming Commission, the Hard Rock Casino in Sioux Falls is now owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated. The Iowa casino is located just along the Iowa/Nebraska border and boasts 639 slot machines, 20 table games and a 54-room hotel.

Come again?

In a mammoth business deal, Churchill Downs Incorporated, keepers of the famous Kentucky Derby in Louisville purchased assets from Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (PPE) that included:

  • Colonial Downs in Virginia
  • Del Lago Resort in Waterloo, New York
  • Hard Rock of Sioux City

With the assets coming from three different states, it took time for all of the various regulatory bodies to approve the final sale. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved the sale of the Hard Rock Sioux City back in August. But the final transaction was not complete until New York signed off.

The final purchase price of the properties for Churchill Downs was $2.75 billion according to a release earlier this month.

What is Churchill Downs getting?

In Iowa, Churchill Downs is picking up the Hard Rock in Sioux City, which has been open since 2014.

Originally in February, Churchill Downs said they would sell the Hard Rock Sioux City to a third party, and then lease it back to run the casino. However, in recent months, Churchill Downs decided to maintain the property. But that move upped the sale cost from $2.5 billion to $2.75 billion.

Bill Carstanjen, Chief Executive Officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated said:

“Today marks a significant moment in the evolution of Churchill Downs Incorporated. The transaction meaningfully expands our geographic football to Iowa, New York, and Virginia, introducing a very unique set of assets and attractive organic growth opportunities to our company.

We are excited to welcome the teams from each of these well-established properties into Churchill Downs Incorporated.”

The deal also gives Churchill Downs the right to develop up to five new gaming facilities in suburban Virginia.

What will happen at the Hard Rock Iowa casino?

In the short term, no changes are planned. Churchill Downs has promised to maintain PPE’s agreement with the Missouri Historic Development that holds the casino’s gaming license.

That agreement cuts in the MRDH for 4.25 percent of the casino’s revenue. Which it then distributes to local governments and charitable causes.

The footprint and name of the Hard Rock Sioux City will remain, and so will the music memorabilia shop and restaurants.

“They’ve confirmed that the Hard Rock brand will remain in place,” said Brian Ohorilko, the executive director of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. “The licensing agreement was also part of this transaction.”

Photo by PlayIA
Darren Cooper Avatar
Written by
Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022. 

View all posts by Darren Cooper