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Cape Girardeau casino opens for business

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

(Photo)
Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger throws the first dice at the craps table Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Isle of Capri in Cape Girardeau. The $135 million casino opened to the public Tuesday morning.
(Laura Simon) [Order this photo]
The smile on Jami Carter's face couldn't have been bigger as she pressed a button to set a screen spinning that put the first slot machine in play at the Isle Casino Cape Girardeau on Tuesday morning.

Carter, of Chaffee, Mo., won the opportunity to play the first slot in the casino's Facebook contest. She and hundreds of others poured onto the gaming floor after an opening ceremony and ribbon cutting.

"We are blessed to live in a country where dreams are still possible," said Jim Riley, one of the founders of Dream Big, LLC, which worked to recruit Isle to Cape Girardeau and sold much of the property for the 23-acre development on North Main Street.

"Dreams can come true. They come in all sizes and I recommend big ones."

When Missouri's 13th and last casino license became available in spring 2010, Riley, partner David Knight, Mayor Harry Rediger and other city officials began to pursue a casino development. Voters approved riverboat gambling in November 2010 and construction on the casino complex began four months later.

Missouri Gaming Commission executive director Roger Stottlemyre presented Isle Cape Girardeau General Manager Chet Koch with the casino's gaming license before the ribbon-cutting to formally give the go ahead for the facility to open.

Riley said he hoped Cape Girardeau would leverage Isle's $135 million investment into the community to keep improvements and momentum going.

"This can serve as a catalyst for our community," he said.

It didn't take long for the nearly 59,000 square-foot gaming floor to fill up as players took seats at slot machines, rolled dice or placed bets at gaming tables.

Mayor Harry Rediger took the first roll of the dice at a craps table shortly after the casino opened its doors. Along with local residents, the event drew people from Augusta, Ga., Little Rock, Ark., Murphysboro, Ill and Paducah, Ky.

Glenda Banks of Paducah waited in line outside more than an hour to play the slots.

"I think this will give Harrah's (in Metropolis, Ill.) some competition. It looks beautiful and it's bigger," she said.

Southeast Missouri State University student Jordon Hale came to play roulette before heading to class.

"I get tired of driving to St. Louis to go to the casinos all the time," he said. "I'm hoping to win some of my money back now."

Another Southeast student, David Nickelson, was working as a bartender Tuesday. He was attracted to Isle's benefits package including tuition reimbursement and health insurance. He hopes to work his way through school to earn an accounting agree.

Isle of Capri president and CEO Virginia McDowell said shortly before the ribbon cutting that more than 80 percent of the casino's 700-plus employees live within a 50-mile radius. Some employees relocated to Cape Girardeau for the job.

Susan Salters and her husband, both poker dealers moved to Cape Girardeau after working for a casino in Evansville, Ind. Her mother and sister also got jobs at Isle. Settling into their new hometown, Salters and her family have been gearing up for Tuesday's opening and the chance to meet new people.

"It's amazing. It's so fun. You get to see so many different personalities. We get to know them. You sit down. You just talk," said Salters, who dealt poker for three-and-a-half years in Indiana.

Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, a 137,000-square-foot facility, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the exception of 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesdays. It features nearly 1,000 slot machines, 28 table games, four restaurants and a 750-seat events center.

mmiller@semissourian.com

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Pertinent address:

777 N. Main Street, Cape Girardeau, MO


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Many lives are going to be ruined by this casino. How do you think they pay for such beautiful building, landscape? How many people went home with their heads hanging low?

-- Posted by electrical on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 2:21 PM

Many lives are going to be ruined by this casino.

Posted by electrical on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 2:21 PM

That's their choice.

How do you think they pay for such beautiful building, landscape?

Posted by electrical on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 2:21 PM

The same way any entertainment venue pays for it. Money received from customers.

-- Posted by FreedomFadingFast on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 2:43 PM

Harry, rolling the dice.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 2:49 PM

I believe its the best happening for Cape Girardeau for years, look at the jobs it brought to this city!!!!

-- Posted by ugguggugg on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 3:21 PM

This is a Sign for Family Values Mayor Harry Rediger

throwing the Dice at a Casino table

-- Posted by falcon2412 on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 3:49 PM

I have mixed feelings about this. I visit Las Vegas often and see many locals in the casinos wasting their lives away on the slots. They're just sitting there with their lanyard attached to their casino club card that's stuck in slot machine, smoking their whatever, and hoping for the next big payout. I hate seeing that but it doesn't deter me from visiting the casinos.

This kind of think will happen here. Maybe it already is though. Have you seen how packed the casinos, I mean, bingo halls are? People are in there wasting their lives and money for a huge payout.

All of that pretty much sucks but to each their own and if people want to blow their mortgage payments or SSI checks, so be it.

I like the fact that the casino will bring $$$ to the town and hopefully that $$$ will be spent the way it's supposed to be.

I give the casino the benefit of the doubt. I'm glad it's here.

-- Posted by BigHeadTedsLittleToe on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 3:50 PM

Why is our police officers being used at the casino?

If the casino needs security the casino needs to hire their own security and not take away from city resources.

The casino is no better than any other business in this city.

-- Posted by 314djhh on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 3:54 PM

How much was Jim Riley blessed when he sold the casino his 23 acres?

-- Posted by 314djhh on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 3:56 PM

When you go to the Casino you should be playing for your entertainment, not because you think you can make a living out of it. Lets face it, people who gamble constantly will just find another casino or place to waste their money- so what does it matter where they do it? At least if it is here they are pumping money into our local economy and jobs are being created. However, I do think it would be nice to have some sort of gambling support that can help people in town with gambling problems.

-- Posted by semo09 on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 4:02 PM

I wasted money at the theater the other day, movie was so bad and the popcorn was terrible. I hung my head real low as I walked out realizing I had wasted money. I noticed the movie theater lobby was awfully pretty though.

-- Posted by PatK on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 4:44 PM

wow. what a way for the cape to make fox news. this is two sticks in the eye with a sharp stick for the cape. first it was clay waller and now these two reprobates.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/29/pol...

-- Posted by BigHeadTedsLittleToe on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 4:44 PM

This is a terrible shame - using college students barely old enough to be accountable to themselves, and still heavily influenced by the decisions their parents made, to work in a gambling joint where people are sure to lose their life savings; uprooting entire families from out of state to move from a metropolitan area with jobs to a remote rural town nestled away deep in the farmlands and swamps of southeast missouri where jobs are scarce. When the gambling joint closes because it misses its revenue projections based on the fallacy of millions of people visiting it, where will this family go in the aftermath of broken promises? This town has gotten in way over its head. Allowing college students to gamble even though they may be 21 - I just hope they figure out life's lesson before long so they aren't in debt their entire adult lives. This is a crooked industry. The money that gamblers would have used at the Wal mart is now going down the town drain, and will end up anywhere else but here. There are no high paying jobs here in this town, and most of the dollars going to the Isle are going to come from people who already can't afford formula for their baby, and from senior citizens who can't afford their medicine. The Isle promises them winnings, and people who don't have enough money to last until the next paycheck are going to come in thinking they can turn $50 into $300 to meet this month's rent - well, we don't have a homeless problem now - we will before Christmas. Merry Christmas little Johnny! Sorry but we can't give you presents cuz your mommy and daddy gambled their fast food paycheck away. Harry, are you prepared for that?

-- Posted by Beaker on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 4:56 PM

PatK what does your link have to do with the article, and for the record, if I'm not mistaken, the Wallers lived in Jackson.

-- Posted by Beaker on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 4:59 PM

beaker, that was me that wrote that about the wallers. cape and jackson are one big town separated by a big park.

that family you mentioned will just uproot everything and move to vegas where there are lots of jobs. money flows through the streets there just like any other casino town.

-- Posted by BigHeadTedsLittleToe on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:06 PM

You're right Beaker, even though those students are adults they shouldn't be working or playing in a casino. Same for those who enlist in our military. Since they can't make decisions for themselves, the minimum age should be 35 same as the president.

-- Posted by Allcala on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:13 PM

Also the money they could have or should have spent at WalMart Beaker? Yea that really has helped the local economy hasn't it?

-- Posted by Allcala on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:17 PM

college students are stupid and if they're not gambling in a casino they're gambling in the dorms. if they're not gambling then they're at the pike house paying checkers or some other board game on school nights.

-- Posted by BigHeadTedsLittleToe on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:19 PM

314djhh. Every casino uses their own security. The ones you are mentioning more than likely are Missouri Gaming Agents that are part of the Highway Patrol. Which is required to have at least one on a property by state law. Any local police that would be there would be due to the amount of people attending the grand opening. Please get you're facts straight or at least mommy and daddy's permission before using the computer.

-- Posted by Allcala on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:22 PM

preach it allcala!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by BigHeadTedsLittleToe on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:24 PM

I'm just warming it up till nil is ready to chime in.

-- Posted by Allcala on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:30 PM

I understand the place is packed wall to wall. Security on site just like any other casino in Missouri is manned by the Missouri State Highway Patrol not our City Police Officers.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:31 PM

LOL, 13-year-old girls are old enough to get abortions / murder babies without parental involvement, but 18-year-olds should be allowed to gamble.

I just love the do-gooders.

-- Posted by bbollmann on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 5:54 PM

how would you like to be a casino worker or state cop and have to suck in ciggy smoke for 8 hours at a time. i would lose my head if i had to work in that kind of environment.

no, the most i want to do is walk through and chow on the food in the buffets and spend a little cash here and there.

i haven't been to the cape's casino but after going to vegas and having good times there, i think the cape's casino would bore me. i'll give it a try though. might as well.

-- Posted by BigHeadTedsLittleToe on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 6:06 PM

you don't make sense bbollmann. if a do-gooder doesn't want a college-aged kid to gamble, why would they think it's ok for a child to get an abortion without parental notification? Or, even think it's ok for a child to get on at all?

please explain that one cause i don't know what the heck you're talking about.

-- Posted by BigHeadTedsLittleToe on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 6:08 PM

I will suggest before people like Allca and others before you go attacking somebody get your facts straight.

Drive down by the casino and you will see 3 Cape Girardeau police cars near the entrance if you are old enough to drive Allca.

-- Posted by 314djhh on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 6:29 PM

And if they have a crowd control problem it should be up to the casino's own security.

Not the Cape Girardeau police dept.

-- Posted by 314djhh on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 6:34 PM

And Beaker I agree with you 100%!

-- Posted by 314djhh on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 6:36 PM

Oh, you seen 3 cop cars in front of the casino. That must mean that Isle of Capri doesn't hire their own security. Which suddenly makes your point valid. Also, I can drive just as well as my son. So you must be referring to my 2 year old granddaughter.

-- Posted by Allcala on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 6:41 PM

And if a church is on fire the congregation should put that out themselves. Not the Cape fire department.

-- Posted by Allcala on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 6:44 PM

Beaker, are you serious? Indiana is one of the worst states for jobs... You need to do some serious studying there Hon. The Isle is great and people are loving it. If you don't, stay home. Who cares what you like or you don't, after all. Your words are really meaningless. It's built and people have great jobs. You are probably one that didn't get hired. Couldn't pass it huh?!

-- Posted by Bahama on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 7:27 PM

And Beaker, people have to learn to be responsible for their own actions. What they do is not your business. You sound very jealous and bitter.

-- Posted by Bahama on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 7:29 PM

For every activity there are addicts. I know of one person who often misses payments because of the amount they give at Church. IMO no different than feeding the machines - just wagering on different things. Doesn't matter what it is, some will abuse it.

-- Posted by malan on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 8:29 PM

The smoke was pretty thick as I visited the casino tonight; there certainly were lots of smokers. This was a distraction from an otherwise enjoyable, but non-profitable experience.

-- Posted by tom on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 8:49 PM

The police are paid by the casino.

................................................................

Harry, rolling the dice.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 2:49 PM

Probably not the best photo op.

-- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 10:08 PM

Did Harry get a free roll as part of his payoff?

-- Posted by stinker on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 10:18 PM

Stinker, payoff of what? That's a pretty low question. Hope you weren't sober when you wrote it.

-- Posted by JungleJim on Tue, Oct 30, 2012, at 11:05 PM

A lot of people on here have comments about how other people should live their lives, oh wait I'm in SE MO. Let's always tear down, never build up.

-- Posted by whube on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 2:23 AM

BAN smoking,, place is ruined already. That's what I enjoy about Metropolis,,,,NO smoking,,, get it Isle?????????????

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 5:52 AM

Better that our gamblers spend their money here as opposed to other places.

Our new Gamblers Anonymous Chapters can probably meet at the established AA facilities!

-- Posted by UFO on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 7:28 AM

Ya dexterite 1 no smoking Metropolis has lost alot of players over ill no smoking law and I mean alot what do you spend' Metropolis lost 2 to 3 thousand dollar players a day and some even 5 to 10,000 range.

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 7:34 AM

electrical, falcon 2412, 3

14djhh, bigheadtedlittletoe,beaker, stinker, dexterite1 THE SKY IS FALLING THE SKY IS FALLING HENNY PENNY THE SKY IS FALLING. What a bunch of nimrods.

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 7:40 AM

It's funny that our government prosecutes local bookies and amateur gambling, however, condones casinos that produce tax money....

-- Posted by UFO on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 7:44 AM

Beaker this time next year the town will be closed they will take out I55 coming into cape and take down the bridge, and start taking down all the buildings and houses and I forgot take up the streets to, what a dip.

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 7:51 AM

My point being Allcala, is that people in this town are barely getting by on minimum wage and instead of going to the store for basic supplies they need, they are going to gamble it away. I mentioned Walmart as an example, because it's the main store in town where you get everything. Nails, you sound quite condescending. First of all, I didn't apply at the gambling joint. I have a nice job that pays very well. I'm set. The bitterness you alluded to is because our town lacks the social services, diversity and availability of jobs, and the draw for a casino to have a positive impact. Any benefits that some people think they see now are short-term You don't seem to get that we do not have the social infrastructure in town to support the issues and problems that come forth as a result of gambling losses. So, for that reason alone, what people do in our community is everybody's business, including mine, for the sake of the well-being of our community alone. ssinteriors, I agree some of that needs to happen. Take down the empty buildings that are in bad disrepair. As for the bridge that leads to nowhere, that was a complete waste of federal dollars and the I-66 study needs to focus on a more southern route, possibly leveraging I-57 and then connecting West Plains, Poplar Bluff, Sikeston on through Paducah, or better yet, connecting Jonesboro, AR (more than twice the size of our town) with Paducah. Thank you for bringing that up.

-- Posted by Beaker on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 8:51 AM

I am thrilled with the new jobs and entertainment this provides our city. People are responsible for their own behavior and self control. A gambler is going to gamble no matter what - whether it be here, St. Louis, online, etc. For all of those above judging others, take a long hard look at your own life. What vice do you have? Maybe you don't gamble but there is something you do that may not be acceptable for someone else.

-- Posted by MINT4U on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 8:52 AM

"people in this town are barely getting by on minimum wage"

Speak for yourself.

"instead of going to the store for basic supplies they need, they are going to gamble it away"

Again, speak for yourself.

"what people do in our community is everybody's business, including mine, for the sake of the well-being of our community alone."

Mao Zedung agrees with this.

-- Posted by PatK on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 9:31 AM

Can't we all just get along and enjoy this shiny new casino, and all the revenues and jobs it brings in for the next couple years? Then we can burn it to the ground in 2015!

By that time all us casual gamers will have had our fun and gotten bored of it, and only the glassy eyed hardcore addicts will be left. By burning down the casino in 2015 we can get almost all the great benefits the casino brings to our community in the short term while avoiding much of the rising crime rates and social ills that it will cause in the long run.

-- Posted by Nil on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 12:11 PM

Whether it's for good or not it will bring people to Cape

We will make a visit when next over from the UK

and play a few slots no doubt.

-- Posted by from across the pond on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 1:53 PM

Just to be clear; I do not live in your area but, I have worked for the company that opened the casino. I didn't start my career with them but, here I am 19 years in the business and I am gainfully employed supporting my family and I never had to leave home to find work. The casinos haven't closed even though the market is tough right now. Generally an investor will buy the property before it closes and voila!! a new property appears. Police are usually contracted and paid handsomely for training, crowd and traffic control when the casino first opens. I started as a young man of 22 years old in security and I am now managing a department. I too was close minded when they started to build here....... casinos aren't the problem it is the lack of accountability and resposibility people are carrying around to go with their sense of entitlement.

-- Posted by wubba wubba on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 1:58 PM

I'm in the gaming industry and the stereotype of the movie "Casino" no longer applies. For anyone to say that a wave of addiction and crime will rise with the opening of this facility is simply misinformed. There is no credible evidence to substantiate such a claim. Just set a limit, have fun and don't expect DeNiro to visit your slot machine anytime soon. All you're doing is spreading fact-less fear, not enlightenment.

-- Posted by EvanM on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 2:08 PM

Dead as a doornail on day two, which happens to be a holiday. Not a good sign.

-- Posted by huntress2 on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 7:51 PM

You don't have to gamble because you go to a casino they have great food you can sit down and relax and have a good meal and watch the sites and sounds and meet a lot of good people. Relax and enjoy the evening, sure does beat sitting at home watching the TV and all of it's doom and gloom news.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 7:56 PM

Such negative Nancys! This casino is for entertainment and for the economy. Some people need to check facts before opening mouth. My son is a police officer in another state and many times is employed by another group to help with crowd control, traffic, safety, etc. They wear their uniforms but are off duty and trying to make some extra money. Try to have some positive vibes for a change...it makes your life so much better. Also Mr Rediger is acting in his capacity as mayor to be the first to roll the dice in the new facility. However if he wants to go there on his own who cares. Worry about your own life and family instead of everyone elses!!

-- Posted by little bo peep on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 8:43 PM

I am excited that Cape has the casino. I very seldom gamble (the last time was probably about ten years ago) but I like the fact that IF I want a fun grown-up night with my husband or friends the option is there. People will find ways to gamble money....probably many of the complainers here have some sort of 401K plan. One of the college kids said he already drives to St Louis to gamble..now at least he is saving gas money. My main concern is that the City of Cape is responsible with the casino earnings....spend it wisely...and realize that at any given time it's possible that money could dry up and go away.

-- Posted by Catbert on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 7:10 AM

What kind of restaurants does the casino have?

-- Posted by cardsfan61 on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 10:54 AM

I visited the Casino on opening day. I did not gamble, but I wanted to play video poker. However, I was too stupid to figure out how the machine worked. I got a roll of quarters which I ended up taking home with me. Just as well, since I need to visit the laundromat in the near future.

It appears that there are no public areas to have meetings, lunches, or dinners, unless you want to spend a small fortune. I was majorly disappointed at this because I have fond memories when I used to frequent Las Vegas, NV and the cost to eat in that town was low. The prices of the only public eating place that I could see are $11.00 for lunch, and $16.00 for dinner, at a buffet, and I don't even know what's on the menu. Unless all the surrounding dinning businesses in Cape plan on raising their prices, I don't see myself eating at the Casino anytime soon.

It was an additional major disappointment for me because I thought there would be areas in the Casino that would overlook the river that the general public could enjoy at little cost. The only such area I could see was a private one that requires an invitation, and is a restaurant that has dishes that start around $28.00 and go up from there. I recall, in Vegas, that there were areas in Casinos where you could sit down and enjoy a coffee or drink, or even some food, that were not privatized or priced out of your bank account.

I guess that's the naive part of me. I had all these dumb notions during this Casino project that it would be compairable to the ones in Vegas.

I thought respect for our cultural interest/activities would be integrated into this Casino project in an affordable manner, but it looks like it's been regulated to those with lot's of money. My dumb thinking again. I guess I assume everyone likes to visit the river like I do. So, it's back to visiting the levee for me when I want to enjoy the river, unless our city officials intend to restrict access to it in some way, in which case I will be moving from Cape, and probably from Missouri, assuming I can afford it. Maybe that's what they had in mind all along. Get rid of the poor, worthless, and disabled.

I will be just fine with avoiding the Casino from now on.

-- Posted by youaresource on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 7:00 PM

I agree youaresource. There is nothing in that gambling joint to showcase the local culture. It's all about funneling money to out-of-town-conglomerates. The prices of the restaurants in there are no reflection of the low nonprofessional wages in town either. I wonder where they are going to get the people to eat in those restaurants. I saw all there is to see and now the waiting game until this place goes out of business has started. My hope is that once it closes, that the town takes the responsibility to tear it down, so that we don't have yet another empty building in town. There'll be too many painful memories of lost money in that building for any other business to be successful.

-- Posted by Beaker on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 9:02 AM

The Cape casino will last 3 years.

-- Posted by mojo on Mon, Nov 5, 2012, at 10:57 PM


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