CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Isle Style Model for Gaming Industry

29 October 2003

Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., a pioneer in this country's riverboat casino industry, has evolved from a single operation in Biloxi, Mississippi, to one of the ten largest publicly held gaming companies in the United States.

Isle Corp, whose chairman and founder is Bernard Goldstein, widely regarded as the "Father of Riverboat Casinos", owns and operates riverboat, dockside, and land-based casinos at 14 locations in six states.

Although the company does not have a property in Illinois, it owns two nearby casinos in the Quad Cities on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River: The Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel in Bettendorf and the Rhythm City Casino in Davenport.

If you've never experienced "Isle Style", the 2 1/2-hour drive along I-80 West is well worth it for a weekend getaway.

During a recent conversation I had with Timothy M. Hinkley, president and chief operating officer for Isle Corp., I discovered that the Quad Cities market will play a pivotal role in the company's ambitious plans for growth and expansion.

"We want to continue growing in the Quad Cities because it is a great market for us," said Hinkley, who prior to assuming the top position earlier this year served as senior vice president of operations for the company for six years. "It's a matter of determining what we should spend and where.

"Do we put all the money into Davenport or all the money into Bettendorf, or do we split it up between both locations? What's we've been doing is running some studies to give us an idea of what we can do to derive the best 'bang' for our buck.

"That's the nice thing about having two properties in the same market. We've already seen some economic savings, and the market's been doing relatively well. If we can add more product and draw from further out, especially those people in Chicago who want to escape from the 'rush-rush' atmosphere, then that's what we'll do.

"Our Bettendorf numbers, and you can compare them to Davenport, reach much further out because of the great hotel facility on property. There's also a lot of meeting space and plenty of parking. The property attracts a lot of people from Chicagoland.

"Our Davenport property has the older hotel (the historic Blackhawk) that is not attached to the casino. The main core of the Rhythm City's market is much closer. I just think we need to take further advantage of that by building more rooms, adding square footage for meeting space, and continue growing."

Hinkley is no "Johnny-come-lately" to the gaming industry. He started with Goldstein in Iowa in 1990, then was the point man for the company's expansion into Mississippi by serving as vice president and general manager of the Isle of Capri Casino resort in Biloxi since its inception in 1992.

Even though Isle Corp. does not have an Illinois location at the present time, Hinkley does not rule out the possibility that it could happen in the future, depending, of course, on how the political climate in our state develops.

"We've taken a look at vacant tenth casino license in Illinois and will continue to keep a close watch on the situation," Hinkley revealed. "We're not sure what's going to happen with the court proceedings and all. Until some of that problem gets cleaned up, it's really hard for you to make a decision."

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp