Monday, July 14, 2008

Some More Casino Stuff

I'll get to the Davenport vs Isle of Capri stuff in a minute, but first I wanted to mention that Friday night I visited Casino Rock Island for the first time. (The fact that I'd never been there before shows that I'm not a big time gambler, and the fact that I lost a total of $6 shows it even more.) I wanted to see it before the opening of the new casino opening snuck up on me, because I'd always heard that it was different than the 2 Iowa side boats. I like that it actually feels like a boat, probably because it actually is a boat, or several boats to be more accurate. I'm a bit too young to have ever been on the President, but I hear that you could tell that you were on a boat there as well. The other alternatives are essentially just casino buildings on barges.

I would have greatly enjoyed the smoke-free atmosphere at Casino Rock Island, but for some reason Friday it had a bit of a sewer/gas smell on the bottom floor of the southern boat. I assume it was something leftover from the flood. The rest of the place smelled fine though, and I didn't have to wash my clothes when I came home. In some ways, I feel like its a shame that this unique casino will soon be closing, but I also think the new park Rock Island is planning to replace it will be a great asset for the QC.


A
nd now back to the regular topic, Davenport's Rhythm City Casino:

Davenport gaming license valued at $169M -QCTimes

So a Davenport casino could be worth $169 million to someone. As I've said before, we should be looking for that someone. Unlike Alderman Lynn's crazy suggestion last year, we should not even consider a casino operator that has another casino within 200 miles of here. Casinos are willing to pay $500 million just for a license in the Chicago area, so I think getting them to spend $60-90 million on a complex in Davenport, where they wouldn't have to buy the license, isn't out of line.

As I have posted many times, I would like to see this plan, involving a casino, hotel, and indoor water park. The Grand Harbor Hotel and Waterpark in Dubuque only cost $26 million, and IOC is supposedly spending around $40 million on their land-based casino in Bettendorf, so that puts the figure right at the low end of the $60-90 range. The study also said that a downtown casino wouldn't do that much worse than an interstate-side casino, so I think the benefits of a downtown casino outweigh the costs. The main reason would be the ability to use the casino investment as a match for state grants aimed at fixing the riverfront after the casino boat leaves. I also think a more urban location with a number of amenities within walking distance would be a unique attraction for a casino, and if people are willing to find the Riverside Casino, I think they could find downtown Davenport. You can argue that gamblers don't visit surrounding attractions, but I would argue that they have a better chance of visisting downtown attractions if they're visiting a downtown casino vs one along the interstate.

As a commenter on my previous post pointed out, Mary Ellen Chamberlin couldn't come out and say that the Isle $9 million offer is a pile of crap, as giving away your opinions like that isn't good for negotiating. However, the fact that she tried to put a positive spin on it with this "Its not a bad offer" stuff isn't a good sign. Its a terrible offer! If she's not on their side, how about a "no comment" or something? It appears she's worried whether anyone wants to come into this market and take the license, but somehow I think there are casino companies out there willing to gross $80-90 million a year.

Also, why would IOC spend $9 million on the current Davenport casino boat building-on-a-barge. When they spend all their millions to build a land-based casino in Bettendorf, couldn't they just float that building-on-a-barge down here? I don't want that, as it would possibly block even more of the river than the current boat, but I do wonder what their plans are for the current Isle of Capri boat.

16 Comments:

At 7/14/2008 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too young to remember the President?

I guess nobody remembers the Diamond Lady any more. Yes, the Diamond Lady of $5 maximum bets, $200-per-cruise maximum losses, a kids' arcade area and a beautiful boat.

That didn't last long.

 
At 7/14/2008 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't our city putting the cart before the horse again. Since the city has no control of the gaming license, how can they sell rights to it? Just because they put a figure on it doesn't mean anyone is going to pay it.

 
At 7/14/2008 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing that I fail to hear much about is the fact that both the casino in Bettendorf and the one being built in Rock Island are being built on land OWNED by the casinos. The Davenport boat rents the parking and surrounding area. Might that make a difference? Just a thought.

 
At 7/14/2008 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having just returned from a day trip to Dubuque to visit the “National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium”, I have one question. Why wasn’t that built in Davenport? How does small town Dubuque get it PLUS the new land based casino PLUS the “Grand Harbor Hotel and Waterpark”? What are they doing right?

P.S. The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is well worth the hour trip up north !!

 
At 7/14/2008 7:21 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

You could ask the same thing about how Burlington got an indoor/outdoor water park as well. With the demise of Wacky Waters, I think there's definitely a market for a year-round water park in the QC, and it makes sense to me to combine that with a casino. Something for the parents and the kids...

Dubuque's museum is indeed amazing, but until it fills in a little more, "The Port" still feels kind of parking-oriented to me. There are a lot of plans underway to change that, however.

 
At 7/14/2008 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Davenport's past city council and administrator have wasted valuable time in assuring our city a viable relationship with this boat. Davenport will regain momentum, but will have to suffer a tad before things turn around. I feel it's time to drop the boat anchor and start shopping.

 
At 7/14/2008 8:01 PM, Blogger pioneer98 said...

Dubuque somehow landed $40 million in Vision Iowa money for all that stuff, WITHOUT a referendum. They got every penny they asked for.

Davenport had a bigger project with more private funding, and asked for $33 million. The state came back and said they'd only give $20 million, or $25 if Scott County had a referendum to approve another $5 million.

Dubuque is just better connected to the state somehow. The fact that Mike Blouin left the state to go to the Greater Dubuque Development Corp says something. Davenport has been making efforts to improve things, though. Connections really do matter.

 
At 7/15/2008 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with above poster that it is a huge asset to be "well connected" to Des Moines. I feel that Mayor Gluba will fair very well for the city of Davenport if the Casino deal goes south on us. Gluba also is well connected to the mover & shakers in Des Moines. Former State Rep & State Senator on his resume doesn't hurt. He will take the lead on this I have a sneaky feeling. He will not be afraid to tell the casino to go jump in the lake! (river) I feel it's about time someone does!

 
At 7/15/2008 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not Davenport? Look no further then the string of greedy crooked liars spending your money at D-1, Riverboat Development and City Hall.People outside of Davenport know what a joke this city really is and how misled the citizens are by the Quad City Times. Look for things to get worse not better.Look for Mr. Images to continue in his valiant role as waterboy lord over the slop bucket.

 
At 7/15/2008 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go walk your dogs and stop posting on the Internet, Keith.

Everyone's sick of your schtick.

 
At 7/15/2008 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

demise of wacky waters?

what? when? (I don't live in the QC any more, so I'm a bit out of the loop)

 
At 7/15/2008 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friday noon at Mojos Davenport Ones Redjackets will hold their monthly ribbon shreding to herald the closing of Starbucks. Special guest Malin will read from his essay awarding Davenport the best City in the U.S. award. Blackwell and Russell will model the latest in Tify prison stripes. Barney will not say a word. Thank you. Mojo's will offer $5.00 draws until closing. For further information contact the Degrades at Design. P.S. Bring plenty change for parking meters. Good time will be had by all.

 
At 7/16/2008 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I see Malin at the GRAND OPENING at the Starbuck's at 5 points a month ago? You people are so negative. I smell the Meyer camp on here. eeewwwwww.

 
At 7/16/2008 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, and it reeks.

 
At 7/16/2008 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, will you get over the parking meters already? It called a PARKING RAMP, and it's cheaper to use too. I know big scary parking buildings with complex machines that make you push a button to enter are difficult to overcome, but somehow I think that even you can learn.

 
At 7/21/2008 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith, was a great alderman. He remains a great guy. Lets all show some respect on this blog-

 

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