The general manager of the Harrah’s riverboat casino in Council Bluffs says they are getting closer to moving the casino onto land. Bo Guidry, says there are a couple of steps left in the process to move the casino into the company’s hotel.

“Pending our board’s approval in November, and the approval by the gaming commission in the state of Iowa, we will proceed to relocate our casino to the convention center space we have at Harrah’s,” Guidry says. Casino riverboats were once required to make daily cruises, but that was eventually dropped, and riverboat casino operators have been moving toward land-based operations.

Guidry says the cost of operation is part of the reason. “The boat itself is 18-years-old and as it continues to get older, there is a lot more upkeep, repairs and maintenance that need to happen,” Guidry explains. “In addition to that, it’s extremely expensive to keep it afloat. We have to spend between three and four thousand dollars a year just to dredge around the boat to keep it afloat. And then last year, we had obviously the floods in the area that caused a lot of concerns. And insurance continues to rise.”

He says the final approvals should come next month as their board of directors will vote on it November 14th, and if it’s approved, state regulators would vote on it on November 15th. “We will start construction in January, and hope to complete it in the middle of summer,” Guidry says.

Harrah’s recently took over the management of the MidAmerican Convention Center, and Guidry says they would move the conventions that had been held at their hotel over to the convention center.

By Karla James