Today’s opening day at the third of the four new casinos that state regulators granted operating licenses in 2005.
The new 31,000-square-foot casino in the Washington County town of Riverside just south of Iowa City also includes an 18-hole golf course and a hotel. It’s owners bill it as a destination resort.
CEO Dan Kehl says investors will get the first look at the new casino. He says they’ll open for shareholders and investors at five o’clock this evening and then the public can begin to gamble at nine. They’ll have a pool party on Friday. Actor Tom Arnold will be there Saturday and there’ll be other things going on all weekend.
Kehl says they expect to bring in gamblers from within a 200 mile radius and many from just up the road in Iowa City. He says they’re counting on drawing on a large crowd of people who’ll take a side-trip to the casino from the University of Iowa. Kehl has focused part of their marketing campaign on the parents of students at the university.
Kehl says they’ll find out quickly how many people make an Iowa game and a casino visit part of a weekend. He says they’re expecting to have a large crowd this weekend because this is the Saturday the Iowa Hawkeyes open the football season with a home game in Iowa City.
Kehl says the casino has 40 table games, over 1100 slot machines and will employ close to 900 people. He says it’s been a hectic time getting everything ready. Kehl says getting the construction together was the hardest part, as they pulled it all together in 13 months. He says filling all the jobs and training the employees also created a lot of hurdles.
While the casino opens today, the golf course will not open for another year.
The Riverside casino opening follows that of new casinos in Emmetsburg in Palo Alto County and Northwood in Worth County. A fourth casino is under construction in Black Hawk County near Waterloo and is expected to open in the fall of 2007.