Isle of Capri’s $125M Proposal Wins Last Gaming License in Missouri

Thirteen turned out to be a lucky number for Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. -- its proposal for a casino property is the last of 13 to be issued in the state of Missouri.

December 2, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Thirteen turned out to be a lucky number for Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. The gaming and entertainment company’s proposal for a casino property in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has just been chosen by the Missouri Gaming Commission to receive the one remaining gaming license–the last of 13–to be issued in the state.

Isle of Capri emerged victorious in a competition that was whittled down to a group of three bidders in October. Casino Celebration L.L.C. partnered with local real estate investors the Koman Family and Tropicana Entertainment Inc. on a proposal for a $132 million property in St. Louis that would feature 40,000 square feet of gaming space, several eateries, bars, and a cabaret. Paragon Gaming Inc. was also among the small group of bidders, submitting a plan for a $107 million development with 55,000 square feet of gaming space, a café, bars, a 125-seat cabaret lounge and retail space just outside of Kansas City in Sugar Creek.

Isle of Capri’s project will sit off Interstate 55 at the former site of a long-vacant shoe factory just a few miles west of the Illinois border and approximately 100 miles south of St. Louis. Plans consist of 38,500 square feet of gaming space and a list of amenities encompassing three restaurants, a lounge, and a 750-seat event center. The proposal did not come with the smallest price tag in the bunch, but, as determined in a study released in November by MGC, it presented other advantages that put it at the top of the list. The Economic Analysis of Casino Applicants for Missouri’s Gaming License, prepared by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, concluded that Isle of Capri’s property would generate the highest net new casino revenue and gaming taxes of the three, as well as the highest overall GDP. Additionally, the Cape Girardeau project would create the largest number of jobs; the anticipated 516 new positions include 332 gaming and administration jobs and 184 restaurant and retail jobs.

Isle of Capri was head and shoulders above the rest in most of the issues studied, including the all-important matter of avoiding encroachment on the turf of area gaming properties presently in operation. “Isle of Capri, while smallest of the three in project size, takes the least amount of revenue from existing casinos,” per the study. “All of the applicants have submitted proposals for medium-sized facilities but only Isle of Capri is far enough from existing Missouri casinos to minimize cannibalization.”

Construction of Isle of Capri is on schedule to commence in early summer 2011, with an anticipated completion date in 2013.