Casino's impact on Cape Girardeau - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Casino's impact on Cape Girardeau

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City and casino authorities cut the ribbon at the grand opening. City and casino authorities cut the ribbon at the grand opening.
Patrons packed the inside of the casino at the grand opening. Patrons packed the inside of the casino at the grand opening.
The Isle of Capri casino opened on Oct. 30, 2012. The Isle of Capri casino opened on Oct. 30, 2012.
Rediger estimated the new Isle of Capri will bring over one million visitors to the area next year. Rediger estimated the new Isle of Capri will bring over one million visitors to the area next year.
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

The doors are open, and while people went in to play some games, Cape Girardeau City Mayor Harry Rediger stands by his belief that the casino is a game changer for Cape Girardeau.

"It's just a great day for Cape Girardeau," said Rediger.

Rediger said he started working on this project his first week in office two-and-a-half years ago.

"To see them coming through the turn styles now, and the casino floor is full, and the restaurants are open, such a great facility, and such a great thing for Cape Girardeau, it's a real thrilling day," said Rediger.

As people piled in, the Isle of Capri Casino is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to Cape, and not just in the casino.

Mayor Rediger said six new businesses have gone in on Broadway and Main in the past few months. He said more are already talking about new developments.

"Our city is in a growth mode right now, this development will spur, and be a catalyst for future residential and commercial development throughout this near north side area, and also throughout our city," said Rediger.

Rediger expects to see over 1 million visitors to the area next year, and see $3 to 4 million in revenue for the City of Cape in the casino's first year.

Rediger said the council has already approved 16 projects, like creating additional parking downtown, and starting a study to improve police headquarters.

Some people see the building for fun and good times, but not all are as excited to hit the slot machines.

When Cape Girardeau citizens first heard about a proposed casino, not everyone was happy. Some felt it would bring out the vices in people like excessive gambling and drinking, and add to the city's crime.

But Rediger said he's done his research, and doesn't think so.

"In talking to mayors of other communities, that have gaming, the gaming has come to an area that was blighted and stagnant, as ours was, and each one of the mayors said the crime incidents in the area, actually go down," said Rediger. "Gaming is so highly regulated that they can't have anything go wrong inside the facility, and outside the facility yes there could be something happen, but it's minor compared to the probability of crime within the area as it was."

Rediger estimated the new Isle of Capri will bring over one million visitors to the area next year.

"We're very fortunate in our size city to have this big of a facility, and this complete of a facility," said Rediger. "It's not only gaming, the gaming floor is part of it, there's five restaurants, there's an event center, 750 seat event center," said Rediger.

But that crowd is just what some people are worried about. Around 3600 people passed through the turnstiles in the first six hours on opening day.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • The Cape Girardeau casino is here. Love it or lose it?

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  • Isle of Capri casino opens Tuesday in Cape Girardeau
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