Casino opening date set for Oct. 30

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Isle Cape Girardeau casino, seen here as construction nears completion on Oct. 15, 2012. Isle of Capri executives announced plans Monday to open the casino Oct. 30. (Laura Simon)

Isle of Capri will open its new $135 million casino in Cape Girardeau at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 30, pending regulatory approval.

The Missouri Gaming Commission will be in Cape Girardeau on Oct. 24, to tour the facility and hear a presentation by Isle executives required before the commission will grant the company its gaming license.

The Isle Casino Cape Girardeau will feature 1,000 slot machines, 28 table games, five restaurants serving a variety of cuisine and a 750-seat multipurpose events room.

Isle Casino Cape Girardeau is the 16th casino owned and operated by Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. across the United States.

More than 450 new jobs were created at the casino, which has been under construction since April 2011.

"This will be an exciting moment for our company and for the Cape Girardeau community," said Virginia McDowell, Isle's president and chief executive officer, in a news release. "We are proud of the talented team we have put in place and thank the construction workers and tradespeople for their hard work and dedication. We greatly appreciate the level of enthusiasm shown by everyone at the City, the Chamber of Commerce, Old Town Cape and the CVB. We truly look forward to becoming a member of the vibrant Cape business community."

Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger said it's been a long process, more than two years, for the city's casino concept to come to fruition.

"The opening date is in sight and we're most anxious to get it open and reap some of the benefits," Rediger said.

Those benefits include an estimated $3 to $4 million in city income annually from the casino, he said.

"We can now fund some projects we've had on the books for a while," he said. Projects have been divided into four basic categories, economic development, safety/emergency, improved visibility and quality of life and history.

It won't take long after the casino opens for citizens to start seeing the improvements, Rediger said.

"We have approved an overall plan and the staff is looking at immediate projects that can move forward in the first six to 10 months with the first moneys that are received," Rediger said.

The casino's long-awaited opening will also bring new visitors to downtown Cape Girardeau, officials hope, something that Old Town Cape Executive Director Marla Mills said is great opportunity for area businesses.

"It no doubt will increase the opportunity for them to have a larger number of people driving past their doors," she said. "It's up to the businesses to take advantage of that and draw them in."

In the end, the businesses themselves -- their quality and their service -- that will bring people in their doors and keep them coming back, Mills said.

Isle has already been a good community partner, Mills said, by providing resources to help enhance the business environment downtown. That includes advancing money for a new wayfinding system to help direct people to and around downtown.

Under the city's development agreement with Isle of Capri, the casino will pay monthly three-tenths of one percent of its gross gaming revenue to the city to be put in a Riverfront Region Economic Development Fund. This fund is specifically to finance improvements that will benefit the downtown commercial and riverfront areas of the city. Seventy percent of these funds must go to capital improvements, according to the development agreement.

Just how the casino's opening will affect downtown has all been speculation until now, Mills said.

"It's exciting because now all that mystery will become reality and we'll find out really what it does mean," she said. "But there is no doubt that particularly initially, it's going to bring a lot of people to town."

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

777 N. Main Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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