The Iowa gambling industry still feels some of the effects of the pandemic, but overall, it is getting back on track.
Visit Quad Cities hosted the three Iowa casinos, sparking conversation regarding the casino hospitality market. The Quad Cities — between Iowa and Illinois — boasts three casinos and multiple hotels.
It’s a tourist destination for those looking to visit eastern Iowa or western Illinois. Rhythm City Casino general manager Mo Hyder told Visit Quad Cities:
“We bring people into the community. You have locals and they enjoy our facilities, but I think it’s more important from a tourism standpoint to bring people in from the outer markets that don’t come here on a consistent basis, not only to enjoy our facility but also to enjoy everything else that this community has to offer.”
Comparing Iowa casinos to Vegas casinos
Isle in Bettendorf, Rhythm City in Davenport, and Bally’s in Rock Island, IL, are all part of the Quad Cities region.
According to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s report, Rhythm City was the most popular and profitable casino in September. Rhythm generated $9,779,824 in adjusted gross revenue. More than 112,000 people visited Rhythm City that month. The Isle totaled $6,412,992 in adjusted gross revenue. The casino admitted 64,922 patrons as well. Bally’s admitted 60,540 patrons in September alone. In total, the casino generated $4,758,349 in total adjusted gross receipts.
Hyder and Hankins both pointed out that one of the area’s benefits, in their eyes, was the different experiences a gambler could have. Both equated the Quad Cities to a smaller-scale version of Las Vegas, where tourists have plenty of options.
They don’t view the competition as a negative. Bally’s Quad Cities general manager Travis Hankins told Visit Quad Cities:
“Competition is always going to make you stronger. We are a destination as three. There’s a reason why there’s 25 casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. You can go there and visit different ones.
It’s maybe a smaller example of that is here, but you could come here and you can try out three different casinos, whereas if you were in a city with just one, then you’re kind of limited with your options.
Quad Cities casino industry looks to expand
Isle Casino Bettendorf general manager Nancy Ballenger said the company is looking to enhance the property in new ways, whether by adding a new restaurant or other assets. Ballenger told Visit Quad Cities:
“We definitely want to grow and be more vital to the community and contribute in a bigger way.”
Hyder said Rhythm City has a $50 million expansion in the works. That project will double the size of the hotel and event center. It will also add new restaurants and a sports bar and expand the gaming floor.
Hankins said Bally’s will be opening a sportsbook “in the near future.”
“People are going there and enjoying different things because each one has something different to offer,” Hyder said. “That’s what the customer wants.”