More than 10,000 visit Cape casino in first two days

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
People fill the gaming floor on opening day Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Numbers in this story were clarified after the initial posting.

During Isle Casino Cape Girardeau's first two days of operation, more than 10,700 people came to play.

The October monthly financial report released Tuesday by the Missouri Gaming Commission included the first two days of activity at the new casino.

"We are pleased with our results since the grand opening of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau on Oct. 30," said Jill Alexander, spokeswoman for Isle of Capri, which owns the casino. "Over 40,000 customers visited in the first 10 days, and we have received very positive feedback from both our customers and from the community."

Figures released Tuesday by the commission represent only two days of operation, so it was too early to comment on any trends, she said.

Isle Cape Girardeau had gross gaming revenue of $593,936 in October, and paid 21 percent of that, $124,727, to the state in taxes. The company also paid to the state $41,544 in admission fees during its first two days.

Under state law, Missouri casinos pay a $2-per-person admission fee to the state. This admission fee is split with $1 going to the state and $1 going to the casino's city. Fees are $2 per person for every two-hour visit, so the casino could have one patron with two admissions if that person stayed four hours.

Cape Girardeau city officials estimate its annual revenue from casino admissions will be between $3 million and $4 million.

Those playing the slot machines and other electronic gaming devices at Isle wagered $3,714,801 in the casino's first two days. The casino's revenue after payouts on slot machines was $537,096.

Patrons wagered $303,644 at table games in October. The casino's revenue after payouts on table games was $56,840.

The average win per patron was $55.49 in the first two days the casino was open.

"We were thrilled with the traffic that came there over the first days," Mayor Harry Rediger said.

Traffic flow

While the casino has drawn thousands to the city, John Mehner, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer, said he has not heard of any traffic problems as was feared by some who were against the project.

"Some folks were concerned about what that was going to do to Broadway and traffic flows. I think it's good -- meaning there have been people, but there have not been traffic congestion issues. That's a positive," Mehner said.

Rediger said additional police officers were scheduled to help with traffic the week the casino opened, but that plan was called off when it turned out they were not needed.

"People come and go at different times," Rediger said. "It's not like one event that everybody comes here for and everybody gets let out at the same time."

People also are able to enter and leave the casino by taking different routes through the city, which has helped avoid traffic problems, he said.

At this point it is unclear if casino patrons are spending money elsewhere while in Cape Girardeau, Mehner said.

Marla Mills, Old Town Cape executive director, was out of town last week for training and said she hasn't yet had the opportunity to talk with many downtown business owners about how the casino opening may have affected them.

Tracking traffic

Her organization is working on a project to track increases in pedestrian traffic downtown, partnering with Scott Thorne, professor of management and marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.

Thorne's students counted pedestrians at various downtown locations each weekend in October, she said.

"The goal is for students to do that same count next year to see if that number increases over a year. It's not just tied specifically to the casino. It's based on a lot of things. It is a way for us to gauge some changes over time," Mills said.

The city will receive payments monthly from casino admission fees, and officials have already identified nearly $2 million in projects that will begin during the next six months to a year, Rediger said.

These include creating parking along Broadway by tearing down the former bank building at the corner of North Main Street and Broadway; bike trail improvements; new exercise equipment; new fences and scoreboards at some city athletic facilities; and street lighting projects.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

777 N. Main, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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