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Cape casino's attendance drops sharply

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The number of visitors to the Isle Casino Cape Girardeau dropped 42 percent in May from a peak of 123,000 in March.

Just two months after that high point, 71,739 people visited the casino ‑ the lowest total for a full month since the casino opened Oct. 30, 2012. The casino paid $1,045,778 in gaming taxes to the state in May, 10 percent of which goes to the Cape Girardeau city government, and $329,768 in admission fees, 50 percent of which goes to the city, bringing the city's May casino revenue to about $269,442. The city collected about $448,695 from fees and taxes generated in March and about $316,500 in April.

The casino collected an average of $69.42 from each patron, up from $61.88 in March and unchanged from April.

The local casino was the only one of the 13 in the state to experience an attendance decline from April to May. Attendance was 81,896 in April. Gross receipts were down at Isle Casino Cape Girardeau from nearly $5.7 million in April to less than $5 million in May.

Mayor Harry E. Rediger said he's not seen how much money the city received from the casino for May, but the drop in attendance did not alarm him.

"They've been all over the board in promotions," he said. "They had heavy promotions in February and March. They're still trying to figure out who their customers are and what can of promotions to do."

Rediger attributed the drop in attendance from March to April to a drop in the number of weekends. "There were five weekends in March and only four weekends in April," he said.

A former retailer, the mayor understands "growing pains."

"The first thing we wanted to do is to go around the horn so we'd have comparable figures," Rediger said.

In other words, once the casino has been open a full year, officials will have figures from the previous year to compare and more easily ascertain business trends.

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. released its fourth-quarter results last week. Combined net revenue in Boonville, Caruthersville and Kansas City decreased during the quarter by $8.5 million, to $47.9 million. Cape Girardeau generated net revenue of $16.7 million. Cape Girardeau, according to an Isle of Capri Inc. news release, had an adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $1.6 million.

"We recently made significant changes to our management and marketing strategy that, we believe, will benefit EBIDTA moving forward as we refine our operations in a developing market," according to the news release.

The casino's general manager, Chet Koch, was replaced by an interim administrator in early May. During a conference call, chief financial officer Dale Black said a search is under way for a permanent CEO in Cape Girardeau, and one should be in place later this summer.

Black said it takes time for a new casino to begin performing at levels expected.

"We still think, in the long term, it takes three years for these new properties to hit their stride," Black said.

The Missouri Gaming Commission released a monthly earnings report Monday for casinos in the state. Visitors are tracked in two categories. "Patrons" refers to the number of people who come through the turnstiles to the casino floor. "Admissions" means the number of two-hour increments documented for each visitor, which is calculated by tracking entries and exits, according to commission officials.

May admissions were 164,884 in Cape Girardeau, down from 197,111 in April. Per patron, the admissions rate was 2.30, down from 2.41 in April, suggesting patrons did not stay as long on average in May, compared to April.



Pertinent address:

777 N. Main St.; Cape Girardeau, MO

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The above article Cape is the exact reason don't spend that money as fast as you receive it place it in a raining day fund because the economy is so weak anything can happen I believe these numbers should tell you that.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 6:47 PM

It's like so many other solo casinos in small towns. TIGHT! No full pay video poker and slots tighter than a clam with lockjaw! They opened tight and got tighter. There are plenty of stupid people, but not enough with green in their pockets to keep an operation like that going. Somebody in St. Louie better see the light or they'll not only be under new management, but new ownership!

-- Posted by thewonder on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 7:03 PM

Cape,better get those doggy parks built before Santa Clause leaves town.

-- Posted by bothedog on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 7:22 PM

Eh, still cipherin' on all this, but the raw attendance figures are higher than Lady Luck, St. Jo Frontier, and Mark Twain casinos - as are the taxes collected - so #10 out of the 13 casinos in Missouri...?

The slot statistic tab from the worksheet http://mgc.dps.mo.gov/2013_fin/FY13_FinR... suggests that IOC_Cape is in line with the other casinos. The table statistics page isn't quite so favorable, but still competitive with most all others except IOC_KC.

Looks like most all established casinos are experiencing a significant year-over-year attendance drop...

-- Posted by fxpwt on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 7:30 PM

The casino fad also might have hit it's peak throughout the State. A lot of people have said the pay outs are not there in the Cape casino as well as the casino in Caruthersville.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 7:40 PM

I don't think this is just a casino problem. Business at my place of employment has been sluggish the past couple of months as well. People just don't have much disposable income, and what little they have is probably being squirreled away for some sort of family vacation.

-- Posted by Catbert on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 8:11 PM

I, for one, would go to the casino much more if it were a nonsmoking facility. It's stinky and unhealthy to be in all that nasty smoke. It's a beautiful place and well designed but thinking people don't want the negative aspects of being in a smoke filled environment. Outback cut out smoking and it didn't hurt business at all.

-- Posted by amazedinMO on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 9:00 PM

The slot payout was 90.6% in May, which is comparable to other MO casinos, but mine was closer to zero. Maybe they should split up the winning pot to allow for fewer huge winners and more smaller winners. The difficulty of getting free meals may be another reason for the decline; in the beginning, one could get a meal by spending 30 points on Monday or Tuesday. A third reason may be the poor economy, as someone above mentioned.

-- Posted by tom on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 9:56 PM

i'd love to see the attendance numbers for some other downtown businesses to see a comparison..

-- Posted by peter_grant on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 10:05 PM

Way too smokey!! I went with my husband and some friends, enjoyed a nice meal, but went on the floor and had to leave. Who wants to stand in that stinky, smokey, yuck. If it were nonsmoking or designated smoking areas I would go back. But not until then.

-- Posted by 4Concerned on Tue, Jun 11, 2013, at 10:13 PM

Nice place and had a good time last time we were there.Was even up a few bucks but the smoke smoked us out after a couple hours. Left with a headache and clothes stinking.

-- Posted by dr.pob on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 12:16 AM

STOP SMOKING and me and my fiance will be there, her son says the place is horribly rancid with smoke. He and his wife were there for a few minutes, had to go home shower and change clothes.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 5:44 AM

Dexterrite may be you should wear a Scott Air Pack the way you make it sound, you sure can stretch it at times, get tough.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 6:44 AM

Is this the only newsworthy event in Cape Girardeau. The monthly report on casino attendance. Just a recycle of the same old story every month. No wonder print journalism is dying.

-- Posted by 3forone on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 6:48 AM

I have to agree...too much smoke!

-- Posted by whyowhy on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 6:51 AM

You people and the no smoking bull they have the equipment that takes the smoke out, get a life you can't have every thing your way all the time. The casino's that put no smoking, have lost a lot of bizz I don't smoke but your not in church your in a adult place so get over it.

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 7:34 AM

Looking at the pictures were is all this smoke?

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 7:37 AM

Smoke is not the problem (and no I do not smoke). I will list the things that could be easily addressed, that have kept me from returning.

IOC has cut their promotions drastically.

Their food is not worth price charged and they had no food coupons last month.

More than once, IOC have changed the promotion rules in the middle of the month, leaving many patrons angry. Some angry enough to complain to the on-sight gaming agent. Example: The Friday Saturday earn 500 points get $100 was changed at the end of the month without notifying patrons. Another example: Earn 10 point buffet was changed to 10 tier points, rather than Gold earned points. And not allowing food coupon to be used in the express diner, without an exclusion on the coupon.

Their housekeeping will dust right above a patron and reach between the machine a patron is playing on (touching patron). When there are empty machines that can be cleaned, there is no reason to clean in the immediate area a guest is playing on.

Non-busy IOC employees gather, chat and laugh to the point it disturbs patrons.

IOC employees need to stop asking patrons stupid questions like, "how are you doing?" Most guest come to zone out and relax, not to be friendly with tip seeking IOC employees.

-- Posted by gone-fishing on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 7:43 AM

Just when I've lost all hope for mankind, a sign of intelligence pokes through the dark.

-- Posted by buyer beware on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 7:52 AM

Perhaps trivia999 should apply for the CEO position and, I mean that with all seriousness.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 8:12 AM

Dexter,surely a little smoke won't keep you from attempting to become a rich Republican! ;)

-- Posted by bothedog on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 8:56 AM

On the smoking issue at the casino it is all in their heads. This has been placed in peoples heads for so many years they sense cigarette smoke every where they go. Look at the contaminated air we all breath and the water, food that we consume and everything else were all exposed too never hear them complain about that. Dexterite can really stretch it out there at times.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 9:02 AM

I find it a crime, no upper management was hired from Cape.

If they would only hire local people, and do business local, they would be better excepted.

The way it is now, I hope and will help them leave town.

The Mayor is not a businessman,he was a manager of a large chain that do not allow managers to even choose venders...Retailer my ***.

-- Posted by Capeman20002002 on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 9:10 AM

My husband and I received coupons for a free buffet last night and it probably would of been a 2 hour wait in line. We declined and ate a burger which by the way was delicious but can't they split these coupons up on different days so its not a mob of people on one night.We feel the buffet is not worth a 2 hour wait even if it is free. They need to check out some other buffets at casinos, the Memphis casino buffet at the dog track puts ours to shame.

-- Posted by ugguggugg on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 9:21 AM

When IOC opened, there were only a few management people that were hired locally. Most were brought in from other properties. That alone ticked me off. We have tons of local people trying to get "HIGH PAYING" jobs. When it opened, those that were hired were given false expectations of how the whole thing worked. Many people left right after opening. My opinion is that it's nothing but another NARS or Lowe's when it comes to hiring. The only thing is, you have to pass a drug test and background investigation by the State of Missouri Gaming Commission. But again, why shut out Cape for the management positions?

-- Posted by Bahama on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 10:47 AM

Surely no one is surprised. Just like when a new restaurant opens. You can't get in for weeks, but it calms down when the newness wears off.

-- Posted by Responder1 on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 10:47 AM

If the IOC really thinks all the complaints registered here are the reason business is down be assured changes will be made. The place isn't run by dummies. There is a reason for every little thing done there. They can manipulate the place just like the slots to draw people back. If smoking is the problem it will cease. Guaranteed.

-- Posted by bothedog on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 11:16 AM

Most of the attendance drops are from the limited drinking for the young crowd late night, they were able to drink a little longer than downtown, but no more than two drinks in an hour has driven a big late night crowd out, if you look at the hourly the big drop is after 10:00 pm

-- Posted by Archie Bunker on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 11:23 AM

Looks like the city council will wringing their hands worried that they might not get anymore of that free money. Then nothing will get done in this hayseed town.

-- Posted by drummz54 on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 11:59 AM

Casino's come and go like I said the industry has reached it's peak all over the place. Every City and State in the country got the casino fever back in the early nineties with the attitude were all going to be rich tomorrow. I hope this one locally can survive and ride the storm out but that is hard to predict in this type of economy were facing right now and in the near future.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 12:10 PM

what does it take to get it into your heads our country is broke(NO MONEY) and NO high paying jobs to be had. who can afford to give their money to the boat when working at a low paying job! Stop complaining. You knew what shape our country was in (AND still is) , at the time you came here. So suck it up and go down with the ship.

-- Posted by monk on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 12:15 PM

We should be Happy we get a $1.00 from every person Good Food

-- Posted by falcon2412 on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 12:29 PM

See, I was totally disappointed with the food. I won't even go for that.

-- Posted by Bahama on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 1:57 PM

Nials & Capeman: "why shut out Cape for the management positions?"

That is fairly routine for many big businesses. They want to ensure that the management is beholden to corporate directives instead of worrying about their personal connections with employees or the local community.

For example know that almost all of the big retail chains (like Wal-Mart) have policies to ensure that all their General Managers transfer in from outside our area. It makes sure that their decisions aren't clouded by nepotism and old friendships/grudges.

-- Posted by Nil on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 2:55 PM

I went to the casino several times and never had a pay out of any kind, nor saw anyone hit it big like you would in st louis or memphis area. They sure did have enough pit bosses and other suited men it seemed everywhere, you run a tight shipped casino like that, your bound to go under eventually. I thought it was a bad idea from start one. a casino in cape??? mmmmmmmm..nahhhhh

-- Posted by ivotedrepublican on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 3:01 PM

I don't gamble at this (or any other) casino but, I've been to the buffet three times. It has been great, horrible, and ok - in that order. They've been open long enough now that there should be some consistency and I'm willing to give them one more chance before I write them off completely.

In their favor, I don't smoke and granted I didn't go to the gambling area but, I could not detect even a hint of tobacco smoke.

-- Posted by malan on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 5:26 PM

Every free meal I had at this casino has been overpriced.

-- Posted by yy4me on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 9:38 PM

Really? The casino business hurting is news? The people of Cape have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. The casino is not likely to pick back up. People don't go to the casino for a full evening of fun. It's not a primary point of destination. In order for the casino to make it, there needs to be other tourism draw. However, our town leaders don't see it that way.

-- Posted by Beaker on Wed, Jun 12, 2013, at 9:57 PM

Beaker, Regarding "tourism draw", based on gaming studies, patrons live within a 50 mile radius of the casino.

-- Posted by heads.up. on Thu, Jun 13, 2013, at 4:00 AM

Not a big gambler, but have heard complaints from others about the smoke and restrictions on alcohol (some aren't allowed in if they seem too intoxicated), and I'm sure the economy has SOMETHING to do with it. I hope it weathers this slow time as it does provide employment for some in the area.

-- Posted by ssnkemp on Thu, Jun 13, 2013, at 5:05 AM

Because of all the rude, tuck up, mafia looking pit boss' and managers. I really hope the place goes under.

Then a local business man, with local values, Who donates to local charities, pays local tax. A local businessman can make a success out of it.. The local business man will hire local and do business local.

How on earth do we trust Thugs to count how long people stay to gamble and what kind of each and every vistor is.

Remember gambling has long since been ran by Thugs..The difffernce is they greased the right hands and made it legal, but only for BIG BUSINESS.

Of couse they were going to find a way to stong arm the city out of the money

-- Posted by Capeman20002002 on Thu, Jun 13, 2013, at 9:01 AM

5.7 million dollars-- In one month --out of the local community economy and Into the pockets of the casino people This money would do much more good in support of local charities groups fundraisers. We have to remember that

Most of this money is just plain lost by patrons of the casino. In my opinion it is not earned. It is gambling loses. What much better this would serve the local community to go into local charities

-- Posted by Gmacke on Fri, Jun 14, 2013, at 9:58 AM

Has anyone ever won anything?

-- Posted by Peedo on Sat, Jun 15, 2013, at 10:39 AM

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