For all of the people who refer to Metropolis’ casino as “the boat,” they will not be able to use that term much longer as it will eventually sail away, leaving the gaming machines in a different location.
Harrah’s Metropolis Casino announced last Thursday the casino will be moving — but not too far.
According to a press release from the casino, the Illinois Gaming Board has approved Harrah’s plan to move its casino to the Riverfront Event Center.
“This move will provide guests with a brand-new gaming floor and easier access to hotel and restaurant amenities,” said Mark Osterhaus, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Metropolis. “The new facility will offer a better experience for our guests and employees, and will put us in a stronger position to compete with newer casinos in our market.”
Osterhaus points out the change will allow for a casino that is all one level with easy access, no stairwells or elevators. “Just walk right in and all the fun is at your fingertips,” said Osterhaus.
At the initial start of the casino in 1992, the business brought in around $800,000 or more each month in revenue to the City of Metropolis, but in recent years, the revenues from gaming has declined.
“We received the lowest amount this past month that we have since the boat has been in operation,” said Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel, who has publicly said he hopes the new changes to the gaming floor will renew the excitement and bring in more money for the city.
“I do believe this will be just like a brand new casino opening in the community,” McDaniel said.
A state law used to mandate casinos to be on the water, but a change to the law a few years ago, allows the new facility to be legal, as long as Harrah’s is over the water.
According to the news release, in addition to the relocated casino space, Harrah’s will add new entertainment amenities and improved food and beverage outlets, in addition to a water feature below the convention center, so the new casino space will be in compliance with the state law.
According to Chad Lewis, Harrah’s Metropolis advertising and PR specialist, the barge that houses the administrative offices and restaurants will remain in place. However, Lewis indicated there are not a lot of details available at this time.
No exact time line has been announced when improvements will take place.