Q-C gambling 25 years later on: Boom or Bust?

Boom or bust?


Given our neighborhood’s all-in wager on riverboat gambling and luxury online casino 25 years back, it would be appealing to define the experience so far in the winner-take-all terms familiar to most gamblers.

However the truth is somewhere in between, as shown by our series analyzing the effect of a quarter century of legalized Quad-Cities gambling. Mainly the work of news editor John Beydler and reporters Eric Timmons, Stephen Elliott and Rachel Warmke, the series began Friday on the 25th anniversary of the launch of the first gambling boats on the Mississippi River at Davenport. The package concludes today with a look at what lies ahead for our community and an ever-changing industry.

Iowa’s boats introduced with excellent fanfare and endless guarantee in 1991. A year later, Illinois excitedly joined the experience. Whether payments have actually exceeded losses depends on who is doing the computing.

Some critics were right

For example, critics who cautioned low-stakes betting and would cause unrestricted betting were right. So were those who stated land-based agen poker casinos were inevitable which gaming carried severe social costs. Claims that gambling operations would one day cannibalize one another showed similarly prescient. The impact of video poker in Illinois is the most current and destructive example.

Lots of pie-in-the-sky development promises likewise never ever materialized and the boats failed to create much of the synergy supporters hoped.

That doesn’t suggest there haven t been considerable economic returns. For instance, in its early days riverboat gambling assisted to save downtown Rock Island stated Denny Jacobs, the previous state senator who piloted legislation that legalized Illinois drifting gambling establishments. Such casino keeps on building by diverting people to play for it. One such is Casino Bonus now.

Once Jumer’s opened its Rock Island Boat Works operation downtown, Mark Schwiebert stated, it was really the only new revenue source we had during the 20 years I was mayor, and it was a substantial one. It didn’t make up for our loss of sales tax as an outcome of businesses closing on 11th Street and downtown, but it supplied some payment for that, and because of the way we spent the money, I think it had a good effect.

Quad-Cities-wide casino taxes continue to slow the growth of job-killing real estate tax. And gaming taxes and admission fees paid for such things as maintaining streets and parks, developing authorities and station house, broadening Rock Island’s Martin Luther King Center and creating Whitewater Junction Water Park.

Video gaming offers a stimulate

In addition to things you can see, the boats also brought a much-needed trigger to our farm-belt-recession rocked community. We need to put this in the context of the times. I put on to think people keep in mind sometimes how dismal it was here in 1983-84, stated Mike Whalen, president and CEO of Heart of America Group. We lost over 20,000 jobs in 18 months. People couldn’t give their houses away.

The boats likewise assisted put the Quad-Cities on the map in a positive way, said Joe Taylor, president and CEO of the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. Along the method, a host of Quad-Cities nonprofits likewise have benefited.

Quad-Cities gambling have created both. It is most likely to keep doing so till our governments broaden the currently saturated gambling market past the breaking point. In Illinois, what impact will a Chicago casino plan that consists of downstate gaming expansion have on the Quad-Cities market?

Better to home, the opening of the new Davenport casino is anticipated to swell the number of local casino jobs to 1,700-plus; will regional operations have the ability to sustain more development? If not, who will lose and who will win? We’ll have to wait and see.