issue 243
May 9 - May 16, 2005
Volume 5
page 2

Capri, city reach deal for casino
By Tory Brecht

An economic development agreement between Davenport and the Isle of Capri on a new hotel and casino complex between Perry and Brady streets is “in semi-final form” Mayor Charlie Brooke said.
Brooke said Friday he would like the City Council to approve it in June.
While Brooke says the proposed agreement includes concessions from the casino company that protect taxpayers’ financial interests and the aesthetics of the riverfront, critics say there are no substantial changes from what has been discussed before, and they believe public input continues to be ignored.
The list of six “concessions” released by the mayor are:
• The Isle will forego the three-year tax abatement the state allows for building downtown. Instead, the city would use its share of increased property tax to fund public improvements around the hotel/casino complex, and the other taxing bodies — including Davenport schools — would receive a full share of increased property tax revenue.
• The Isle would pay 100 percent of the cost of a new parking building with no funds from the city or the Riverboat Development Authority.
• The casino company’s lease of city-owned riverfront property would be shortened by 43 years from the current 92-year lease.
• Isle will forfeit its exclusive docking rights between Lock and Dam 15 and the Centennial Bridge, granting the public full access to the river on Isle’s leased property.
• The city and the Riverboat Development Authority will invest no money in the hotel, although the RDA will spend $5 million on other site preparation costs ranging from flood protection to landscaping.
• Revenue generated by the new hotel and parking ramp, not taxpayer dollars, will pay for the project.
“I would think these concessions will help garner more council support,” Brooke said.
“They show that the people of Davenport will obtain a substantial benefit from changing the status quo.”
Brooke also stressed that the city — through a design review panel called for in the agreement — will have broad authority over the exterior architectural plans and materials.
“We’re not going to end up with a pink parrot like they have in Bettendorf,” he said. “We’ll end up with a first-class facility that will stand the test of time.”
Todd McGreevy — an organizer of, which opposes the project — isn’t buying the mayor’s promises.
“This is spin, pure spin,” he said. “There are no concessions here. The only new thing here is the shortening of the lease. Charlie’s obviously trying to beat the drums of support for this by putting the word concession in front of it.”
The fact the deal is close to done less than a week after public input meetings were held proves the mayor and others in city hall had no real interest in seeking citizens’ opinions, McGreevy added.
“In my opinion, the city leaders have failed to negotiate a position on the city’s behalf that compels the casino to look at anything other than one option at a time,” he said. “The citizens should have the opportunity to review financial data for other site locations.”
City administrator Craig Malin said he wasn’t involved in any negotiations with Isle this week.
“Negotiations have not been on the front burner for a long time,” he said. “It’s important to view the proposal from an enlivening the waterfront and quality of urban and community life perspective. It can’t just serve the Isle’s purposes. They can mint all the buttons they like; that won’t change hearts and minds.”
Nancy Donvoan, regional vice president of the Isle of Capri, said public input is important, but the Isle has to do what’s best for business as well.
“If the objective of the public meeting was for everyone to become more educated about the riverfront and gaming and factual aspects of what we have here, I think that was accomplished,” she said. “Any business that doesn’t have the objective of improving revenues and growing their business wouldn’t do it.”
She also said the Isle is committed to creating an aesthetically pleasing property that fits in with the river and downtown Davenport.
“I think what people don’t understand is this is a whole new brand we’re developing,” she said. “We’re trying to be very respectful of the urban setting and respectful of the river and the emerging architecture downtown.”




Pompano OKs casino for slot machines; opening scheduled for Dec. 31
As reported by the Sun-Sentinel

Pompano Beach - Broward County's first non-Indian slots casino will start construction within two weeks and be open for New Year's Eve, the Pompano Park harness track said Wednesday. Pompano Park Racing, which operates the track, said it expects to get a building permit as early as Monday for a 157,000-square-foot building that will hold as many as 2,000 slot machines. Jerome Sanzone, the city's building official, confirmed approval of the permit is near.

"We're very excited about our future. It's going to be gorgeous," Pompano Park General Manager Dick Feinberg said.

The Pompano Beach Planning and Zoning Board approved the site plan for the $1.6 million Phase 1, which calls for the slots and a poker room, last week. The plan also calls for large TV screens showing live races in tracks across the country so people can watch and wager while they eat, two large bar/lounges, a medium-priced food court and two upscale restaurants with up to 500 seats.

County voters in March approved a referendum to allow slots at Gulfstream Park and Hollywood Greyhound Track in Hallandale Beach, Dania Jai-Alai and Pompano Park, with all tax revenues going to public education statewide. Since then, the Legislature has been trying to draw up rules of operation.

Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper said conceptual site plans for Hollywood Greyhound Track have been shown to city leaders, but not formally submitted. Partial plans for Gulfstream Park have been submitted, but only the plans for a new grandstand have been approved, she said. Dania Beach City Manager Ivan Pato said plans for Dania Jai-Alai have not been submitted. In Pompano Beach, track officials are plunging ahead.

While the artist rendering shows a plain building on the outside, Pompano Park spokesman Steve Wolf said the inside "will have tall spacious ceilings, a gigantic two-story, half of which is open so when you're on the second level you'll be able to overlook the entire casino floor."

The 41-year-old Pompano Park harness track, near Atlantic Boulevard and Powerline Road, already attracts thousands of spectators four nights a week to gamble at the races and poker tables. The casino will have a Caribbean theme.

Harrah's in E.C. no more, as new owners man ship
As reported by

EAST CHICAGO, Illinois - A The newly named Resorts casino opens at 6 p.m. today, its decks swabbed clean of any sign of former owner Harrah's.

Casino staff overseen by Indiana Gaming Commission auditors stripped the casino of everything Harrah's, from the green felt material that covers gaming tables to poker chips and tokens.

The felts, like everything else in the casino, must reflect the name of the new owner, gaming commission spokesperson Jennifer Arnold said.

The riverboat parked on East Chicago's lakefront is being sold as part of a $1.24 billion deal to Resorts owner Colony Capital LLC, a Los Angeles-based real estate firm which also owns the Resorts Atlantic City casino.

Transfer of the casino license to Resorts from Harrah's Entertainment Inc. was approved last week by the Gaming Commission.

The casino ended its run as Harrah's early Monday, giving staff until late today to close out the Harrah's operation.

Gamblers will notice few immediate changes to the look of the riverboat, Resorts General Manager Joe DeRosa said.

"Folks will walk in here and not know things have changed," he said. "Except they'll have better service than they're accustomed to."

Changes to the ambiance, including a rearrangement of the gaming floor and a new line up of restaurants, will come later, in time for a mid-June grand opening, DeRosa said.

"We're going to start slow and make sure all our systems are working first," he said.

The casino was one of four properties sold when Harrah's Entertainment Inc. acquired Caesars Entertainment this year in a $9.4 billion merger, creating the world's largest gaming company.

Harrah's and Caesars agreed to sell casinos in Atlantic City and Tunica, Miss., along with the East Chicago riverboat, to comply with regulations against monopolizing a gaming jurisdiction.

The Harrah's/Caesars merger made Harrah's the owner of three Indiana riverboats, including the Horseshoe in Hammond and a Caesars property in southern Indiana. State regulations limit a single owner to just two licenses.

Staff of the former Harrah's are expected to stay on board under Resorts ownership, and many of the workers took part in the transition on Monday and today.

"One advantage (to Resorts) is they have a staff of experienced workers," the gaming commission's Arnold said.

The 53,000-square-foot casino and hotel features 1,966 slots and 60 table games.

Chubby Checker

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood: Chubby Checker & The Wild Cats will be performing at The Club on May 23rd and 24th.

Date: May 23-24

Time: 7:00pm doors open; 8:00pm showtime

Ticket Prices: $45

For more information please call:1-954-523-3309
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