Isle of Capri relocates Bettendorf casino

May 16, 2016 10:19 AM

St. Louis-based Isle of Capri is moving its gaming facility from the riverfront to land in Bettendorf, Iowa.

The company will close its riverboat operation June 19 and open its new $60 million land-based gaming and entertainment site June 24. The move comes almost 25 years and three months after riverboat gambling first arrived in the Quad-Cities.

“We are excited about our big little move of just 223 feet,” said Arnold Block, Isle’s president and chief operating officer.

Bettendorf actually became home to the first gambling boat in Iowa on April 1, 1991, when the Diamond Lady launched from the city’s shore about 30 minutes before the President launched from Davenport.

On May 27, 1992, however, the Diamond Lady ownership announced the boat would leave Bettendorf. After an almost three-year absence, the Lady Luck Casino brought riverboat gambling back to Bettendorf on April 21, 1995.

During the five-day window this June while the casino is being moved, crews will transfer games, equipment and employee offices to the 82,000-square-foot structure located in the courtyard between the resort’s two hotel towers.

The new casino, which will be open 24 hours per day, will host celebrations throughout the first week of the grand opening, including a River to Rock concert featuring Wynonna and the Big Noise on July 1.

Jeff Reiter, Bettendorf’s economic development director, said he hopes the opening “drums up tourism and interest leading into the Fourth of July holiday.”

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected]