An integrated downtown casino in Davenport would provide economic advantages to businesses located nearby, according to a recently completed study.
The Downtown Davenport Partnership commissioned the study as part of its 10-year strategic plan and looked at three cities that had downtown casinos. The study was done by Ohio-based DiSalvo Development Partners and BKP Consulting. It was provided to the city Thursday afternoon.
Kyle Carter, director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, highlighted what those casinos did that benefited nearby businesses.
-- Integrated, rather than isolated, the casino into the downtown.
-- Had outward-facing amenity entrances close to nearby food and drink establishments and hotels.
-- Had nearby parking with good walking access to the casino.
-- Partnered with existing businesses.
-- Provided vouchers for downtown restaurants and co-promoted entertainment.
Sales at bars and restaurants increased 5 percent to 20 percent, according to the study that looked at casinos in Cleveland, New Orleans and Detroit. The study also noted that seven other cities had downtown casinos under construction or under consideration.
“If it is going to go downtown, these principles apply, whether it is Detroit or Davenport,” Carter said.
The study showed that food and beverage sales in downtown Davenport lag behind Moline and Rock Island by more than $4 million annually. An integrated casino could help that, Carter said, although the size of the downtown might also affect those numbers.
Also, the study showed that with more downtown hotel rooms, the RiverCenter could bid on more and larger events to host.
Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, who represents the downtown area, was pleased to get the report before interviews Monday with land-based casino developers. He was critical of people who immediately dismiss the financial potential of a downtown casino.
“All we’ve seen is a steady screed of that it should be on the interstate, when they didn’t know anything,” Boom said.
All three proposals have some type of downtown component, with two of them specifically located downtown and a third with a combined interstate-downtown operation.