Iowa’s newest gambling facility opened in Waterloo over the weekend with a festive ceremony and a large crowd. "Hello, Cedar Valley. We did it!" — those words from Isle of Capri regional vice-president Nancy Donovan greeted the 500 special guests who were invited to Saturday’s five p.m. gala celebration.
The 175-million dollar facility received rave reviews from the invited guests, including Black Hawk County Gaming Association president Don Hoth, who started the effort to bring a casino to Waterloo when he ran for mayor in 2001. Hoth says the effort has exceeded his expectations.
The grand opening marked the end of a six-year effort to bring gaming to the Cedar Valley and supporters showed their appreciation. Patrons began lining up three-and-a-half hours early for the 7 p.m. public opening. When the line swelled to about 400, casino officials decided to open the doors an hour early. The new casino is expected to generate 100-million dollars in revenue the first year.