IA’s Riverside Casino & Resort Gets Facelift, Is Sports Betting Next?
As the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort’s regulars age, the casino owners are trying to pull in a younger crowd. The GM said they have spent $11 million on renovations in order to attract a new and fresh group. Between 2013 and 2017, the casino lost 300,000 customers, and experienced a drop in revenue of over $500,000. The casino’s General Manager, Dan Franz, says that the decision to renovate just makes sense, especially when trying to attract a younger population of responsible adults:
“We need to move forward and see if we can develop some of those new gamers and younger people. It’s worked well. We’ve had a great start to that process.”
Included in the $11 million renovations, the casino revealed that there is new carpeting, two new restaurants, Top Golf suites, some retro pinball machines, and an enclosed poker room. Franz said the goal was to target customers in the millennial generation with an urban, sporty vibe.
To help celebrate the newly revealed renovations, the casino is offering special sales through the weekend. Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa, already features all of the favorite table games, slots, and video poker machines.
With the Supreme Court’s decision in May to overturn the federal ban on sports betting, most stakeholders in Iowa are looking forward to legalized sports betting in the state, but it appears that might not happen anytime soon.
The President of the Iowa Gaming Association, Wes Ehrecke, plans to ask the Iowa Legislature to consider a bill legalizing sports betting during the 2019 session, but Kim Renolds (Rep), the current Governor, isn’t keen on rushing into things. In September, Reynolds told reporters that she wouldn’t say whether she would sign legislation to pass sports betting until a bill is passed in the House and Senate in its final form:
“What we are doing is working with the legislature, working with the different agencies to see what that would look like and how it would be implemented. There are a lot of questions to be answered.”
House Study Bill 592, filed in 2017, proposed to allow gamblers to create sports wagering accounts at the state’s casinos and then place bets in person or online. The bill did not pass.
Anyone in Iowa who wants to participate in legal sports betting will have to do some travel: the closest states with legal sportsbooks are West Virginia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
Sports Betting in the United States
Since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was overturned by the Supreme Court in May, individual states were left to make their own legislation (or not). Since then, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi, and New Mexico have legalized sports gambling. Nevada, of course, has had legal sports betting all along.
There should be plenty of information for Iowa lawmakers to look at when drafting their legislation in the coming year, including tax rate, types of regulations, and what kind of revenue the state might expect. Although they are moving at a slow pace, the state lawmakers will eventually see the huge benefits of legalized sports betting and money almost always wins out when it comes to political issues.
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