The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Business & Technology

March 25, 2013

Casino reports lowered income, drop in visitors

CLINTON — Gaming revenues remain on a decline, according to Wild Rose Casino and Resort General Manager Tim Bollmann.

“Based on the current business levels in the state, it’s not looking good,” Bollmann told the Clinton County Development Association at the Wednesday board meeting.

In the month of February, the Wild Rose saw a 14 percent decline, for a decrease of almost $493,000. Bollmann added that the casino’s patrons were down 12 percent.

Bollmann felt much of the decline was based on the weather and the economy. The Wild Rose relies heavily on people driving in from Illinois.

Bollmann pointed out that people are less likely to do that when it snows.

He also felt many people have less disposable income to spend at the casino. Also, approximately three percent was lost due to February being a shorter month.

Another challenge the casino faces is video gaming in Illinois. Bollmann said the video gaming devices in Illinois have generated more than $13.5 million.

He told the board that the state increased the number of units by 28 percent last month, putting almost 1,000 more video gaming devices into action.

He added that Fulton, Ill., alone has 20 of the devices.

“Now you got people who have disposable income, they’re sitting at their bar stool. Why are you going to drive to a casino in Iowa when you can sit at your bar stool and play the exact same game?” Bollmann said.

Wild Rose is not alone in declining numbers. Bollmann pointed out that the entire gaming industry is hurting.

The state of Iowa was down by eight percent. He added that the following nearby states also saw declines: Illinois by 14 percent; Indiana by 12 percent; Missouri by six percent.

While gaming numbers are not good, not everything at Wild Rose is on the decline. Bollmann told the board that their actual hotel occupancy increased. He added he just wished they were all gamers.

Board President Tom Fullerton offered some hope for the future.

He said with the development at the rail port and other growth in Clinton the Wild Rose could possibly see a boost.

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