In a bid to comply with Illinois gambling laws, gaming conglomerate Caesars Entertainment looks to convert building into floating vessel.
Caesars Entertainment is one of the world’s most popular gaming firms. They are known to provide some of the best gambling services through their lavish casinos. However, the newest development that Caesars is planning to undertake is somewhat peculiar, as they want to transform a convention center into a riverboat equipped with a casino.
The reason for the move is to comply with the laws set by the state of Illinois, which stipulates that slots, table games and wheels can only be played over water. Gambling news reports the plan is to move Harrah’s Metropolis Casino, a 21-year-old boat currently positioned in the Ohio River, to a convention center that is located nearby.
Boosting revenues is key
• Caesars Entertainment plans to move riverboat to convention center
• Harrah’s Casino has been operational since 1993
• The casino contributes more than half of Metropolis’ annual revenue
Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel commented on the interesting plan saying, “It might be putting water bladders under the convention center. Like a giant hot water bottle.” Lisa Gower, president of the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce, on the hand suggested that the lower tier of the building may be flooded. “There’s more than one way to float a boat.”
Caesars is looking into many possibilities to boost revenues, as the current market condition has seen Caesars lose a considerable amount of money. They have also been forced to close some subsidiary properties, with Harrah’s Casino in Tunica, Mississippi being the most recent business they had to shut down.
Residents and officials of the town of Metropolis are all in favor of seeing their casino moved to shore, where it is expected that it will experience greater success. The small town boasts a modest population of 6,500 and is in desperate need of greater revenues. Gambling accounts for half of the town’s annual revenue, however gaming activity has been on the decline.
The riverboat initially commenced operations more than two decades ago, in 1993, and showed steady increase in revenues throughout the years. By having dome of the best US poker rooms Harrah’s reached a peak in 2007, amassing over 49.7 million, whereas in this year ending on June 30 it only managed to record earnings of a modest $4.3 million.
The chief financial officer of Harrah’s Casino, Patricia Suttles, expressed concern about the future prospects of the gaming facility considering the current disappointing results. While Mayor McDaniel highlighted the significant contribution that the casino makes to the economy of the small town. “It covers all our operating expenses for personnel.”
Relocation should help bring more players
Ryan Bierbaum, marketing director at Harrah’s, explained how the idea behind moving to the convention center is motivated by the fact to create a greater appeal with a wider range of players. The current layout and setup of the boat resembles an old-fashioned 19th century riverboat that tells the story of what gambling was like in those days.
By relocating operations to the center, players will have a much easier time accessing the casino and enjoying their playing time in a more contemporary and modern environment. The red and orange carpeted layout of the casino will be missed, however it is viewed as the necessary step to once again reclaim the old glory and increase revenues.
Although people initially had to visit big gaming hubs like Las Vegas and Atlantic City to gamble, nowadays things are somewhat different mainly thanks to the implementation of gambling vessels. Numerous individuals across the US were averse to the idea of gambling boats at first, however the argument of them being an economic development tool won.
Iowa was among the first ones to support a riverboat in 1991, and soon afterwards many states realized the potential behind such a facility that can help the economy. According to American Gaming Association, today it is estimated that there are over 930 riverboats in operations all across the US.
Recently, New Jersey has tried to implement mobile casinos in efforts to increase its revenue streams. However, opponents to internet gaming believe that is the state were to focus more of their efforts on traditional gaming facilities, namely casinos and riverboats, they would have experienced greater success.