Isle of Capri rides big May profits in KC

June 17, 2002 10:45 PM
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In the Kansas City marketplace, The Isle of Capri bounced back with a strong May in revenues, while the The Woodlands’ posted its best month in years.

The dog track was boosted from bettors around the country, who for the first time wagered on its daily races. Track revenues were up nearly $1 million over last May due largely to the Triple Crown chase of War Emblem.

"We still have a long-term future," Woodlands spokeswoman Judy Laster told the Kansas City Star.

The Track’s strong month followed the Legislature’s refusal to allow the state’s parimutuel racing industry to add slot machines to its gambling mix.

Isle of Capri owns several casino riverboats in the area, including Boomtown. The big May came at the expense of the Argosy Riverside Casino, which fell below a 16 percent market share for the first time since 1999.

"Isle is a good competitor," said Jack Bonar, Argosy marketing director. "Unfortunately, we slipped."

The Kansas City market last month recorded its third richest month ever at $51.99 million. It extended the string to four consecutive Top 10 months this year.

Isle of Capri and Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino & Hotel lead the marketplace with 88 percent of their total gambling capacity dedicated to electronic gaming devices. Argosy is at 86 percent and Ameristar Casino & Hotel is at 80.

The Kansas City casino market was up 6.7 percent over last May, in line with the 7 percent gains in Illinois and Iowa.

The Mississippi-based Isle of Capri is considering adding another 500 slots to what is now a storage area.

Iowa set to deal

The state of Iowa may be ready to entertain a deal with gambling industry leaders to settle the ongoing racetrack and casino tax problem.

"We want to be sensitive to the state community, so I don’t think anything is off the table," Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino lawyer Thomas Flynn said in a Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star article.

The state may be forced to refund nearly $110 million in excess taxes that racetrack casinos in Altoona, Dubuque and Council Bluffs had paid since 1997. Prairie Meadows has paid the most taxes of the 13 racetracks, riverboats and casinos.

Second thoughts

Two weeks ago Delaware initiated one of the toughest anti-smoking measures in the nation. Now, legislators may lighten up.

The legislature is entertaining a bill that would exempt casinos, bars and racetracks from a statewide ban on indoor smoking set to take effect in November.

Casino industry officials believe the smoking ban can cost the state nearly $57 million annually in revenue.

"I think there’s broad support for this bill," said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment. "I feel encouraged that people are going to try to fix what we have been trying to convince everybody is broken."

The new law prohibits smoking in bars, restaurants, hotel lobbies and other workplaces. Hotels must set aside at least 75 percent of rooms as nonsmoking.

Internet may have life

There is a growing movement in Washington to vote down a pending bill that would prohibit Internet gambling.

The cyber-wagering ban proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has no guarantee of even coming before the House panel.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, is urging members of his party to vote against the Internet gaming ban.

Republican Chris Cannon of Utah is also against the bill.

"I don’t know how the vote is going to shake out, but a lot of people don’t like this legislation," Cannon said.

ALSO: A top leader of the Seneca Nation accuses New York Gov. George E. Pataki of "delaying approval of the gambling compact that would bring Indian casinos to Niagara Falls and Buffalo.