Fewer people came through the doors of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau in January compared to December, but those who visited stayed longer, according to monthly earnings reports by the Missouri Gaming Commission.
The gaming commission tracks visitors to casino operations in two categories. "Patrons" refers to the number of people who come through the turnstiles to the gaming floor. "Admissions" means the number of two-hour increments documented for each visitor, which is calculated by tracking the time and number of patrons exiting, according to commission public information coordinator LeAnn McCarthy.
For January, the commission reported a count of 82,682 patrons and 186,358 admissions at Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, so, each patron accounted for 2.25 admissions. In December, the numbers were 91,115 and 191,117, respectively, with an admission rate of 2.10 per patron. In November, counts were 109,905 and 207,155 and the admission rate was 1.88 per patron.
Looking at other company operations, the admission rate for Isle of Capri Casino Kansas City was 1.92 per patron and Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville was 1.99, suggesting people are staying slightly longer in the Cape Girardeau casino. A non-Isle casino, Harrah's North Kansas City, had a rate of 1.91 per patron in January.
Though visitors are staying longer on average, their numbers have declined each month since November. In January, 9 percent fewer people came through the turnstiles compared to December. And in December, numbers were down 17 percent compared to November, the first full month of operation.
Of the state's 13 licensed casinos, 12 showed a decline in visitors in January. The greatest drop was 15 percent at Harrah's North Kansas City. Hollywood Casino St. Louis, recently rebranded when Penn National bought Harrah's St. Louis, showed the only increase, at 16 percent.
Isle Casino Cape Girardeau had gross receipts, minus winnings paid, of $4.85 million in January from its table games and slot machines, down 11 percent from December. It paid 21 percent of that, $1.02 million, to the state in taxes. December's totals were $5.48 million in receipts, up 2 percent from November, with $1.15 million paid in taxes.
Ten percent of the total taxes paid monthly to the state by the casino goes back to the city of Cape Girardeau, said Jennifer Bruns, senior tax auditor at the commission.
In addition to taxes, $372,716 in admission fees was paid to the state, half of which is routed back to the city. Missouri law requires casinos pay a $2-per-person admission fee to state and local governments per two-hour period of time spent in the facility, so a person who stays four hours counts as two admissions. The law stems from the times when gambling boats took excursions and then returned to the dock to admit patrons, McCarthy said. The city in which the casino is located receives $1 of the fee and the state receives $1.
The casino took in an average of $58.65 per patron in January from slots and table games. Of the $44,553,014 wagered on slot machines, the casino kept $4,097,160 before taxes. Gamblers risked $3,382,499 on table games, such as blackjack and poker, and the casino kept $752,275 before taxes.
The fluctuating numbers seem to vindicate some city leaders' desires to move deliberately in determining how to fund city projects with casino revenue.
Councilman Mark Lanzotti said the city needs to use caution and take a "pay as you go" approach to planning projects with casino revenue, since available income data are limited.
"We at the city need to get a very firm handle on what an annual revenue stream is going to look like to even help us begin to plan for expenditures and where to best put those resources to help the most citizens of Cape," Lanzotti said.
Isle Casino Cape Girardeau representatives declined to comment on the Missouri Gaming Commission report, citing federal Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.
777 N. Main Street, Cape Girardeau, Mo.