'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.
nd now back to the regular topic, Davenport's Rhythm City Casino:Davenport gaming license valued at $169M
o 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.A
s 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.A
lso, why would IOC spend $9 million on the current Davenport casino
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.