The new casino in Waterloo opened Saturday, the last of four new casinos approved by the state Racing and Gaming Commission in May of 2005. Racing and Gaming Commission administrator, Jack Ketterer, says there’s always big crowds during the openings — and then the operators will start to see a normal level of interest.
Keterer says with new employees and a new facility, it takes awhile for things to settle down, but he says it only takes a month or so for things to get to a level where they’ll be the remainder of the year. Ketterer says the Isle of Capri in Waterloo is a little different than some of the other new casinos when it comes to the competition standpoint.
He says the two casinos in northwest (Emmetsberg) and northcentral Iowa are in areas where there are no other casinos to compete and are in sparsely populated areas. Ketterer says the Worth County casino has done much better than projected — in most part due to people coming from Minnesota. He says the Waterloo casino and the new casino in Riverside are competing with the Meskwaki Indian casino for gamblers in the I-380 corridor.
The opening of the Waterloo casino will give the Racing and Gaming Commission a full view of the market and be a factor in deciding whether any new licenses are issued. Ketterer says there was concern about the possible need for more casinos when there were ten applications and just for new licenses issued. He says the commission wants to see how the Waterloo casino fares before issuing more licenses. The commissioners have said they won’t discus the possibility of new licenses until at least January.