Iowa Supports Isle’s Land-Based Plan

The Iowa Gaming Commission supports a proposed land-based Isle of Capri casino along the waterfront in the city of Bettendorf, Scott County. The Bettendorf City Council also has thrown its support to the plan.

Last Iowa riverboat to move to land

Isle of Capri’s plan to build a 70,000-square-foot land-based casino in the riverfront city of Bettendorf, Iowa has won support from the community and the Buckeye State.

The company worked with Bettendorf to co-develop the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center in 2009. It original agreement will give tax incentives to the Isle to develop the casino between two existing hotel towers, reported the Quad City Times. Bettendorf’s city council unanimously approved the preliminary plans last week.

Complete development plans have not yet been submitted to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, but are expected before the next meeting July 31, said Brian Ohorilko, administrator for the five-member commission.

“We would agree that it would be something positive not only for the community, but for the state of gaming,” Ohorilko said.

He said each riverboat casino in Iowa that has transitioned from water to land has seen an increase in revenue after moving. “As that revenue gets higher, a higher percentage of what’s generated is shared with the state and communities,” he added.

Bettendorf’s casino is among the last in the state to move ashore. In recent years, riverboat casinos in Burlington, Clinton, Council Bluffs and Dubuque have transferred their casinos to on-land sites.

Iowa has more than 20 casinos, and existing operators have complained that the market is getting too crowded. Quad-City casino revenues have dropped in recent years. Land-based Jumers in Rock Island brings in the most, and generated about $7 million last month. Isle of Capri ranks second, about $6 million last month. The Rhythm City riverboat in Davenport, now closed because of flooding on the Mississippi River, brought in about $4.25 million last month.

In April, the gaming commission rejected plans for a casino in Cedar Rapids.

Currently, Bettendorf and Davenport, along with Marquette, Osceola and Council Bluffs are the only locations in Iowa that still operate riverboat casinos, Ohorilko said.