ST. LOUIS, April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Back in 1990, Bill Gustafson was a Marine on leave, married with one child and another on the way, and trying to decide between staying in the Marine Corps or finding a job in the private sector.
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When the Diamond Lady left Bettendorf, Iowa on April 1, 1991, as the first riverboat casino to set sail in the nation, Bill Gustafson embarked on a journey of his own that he would begin as a security supervisor. Today, four gaming properties and three states later, he is back where it all began in Bettendorf as the senior director of operations at Isle Casino Hotel.
The State of Iowa legalized gaming in July 1989 and the race was on. Illinois, Mississippi and Colorado entered the race to legalize riverboat gaming in 1990 and Louisiana joined the race in 1991. Under the guidance of Bernard Goldstein a new industry was launched on April 1, 1991 and Goldstein, who died in 2009, would become known as the "Father of Riverboat Gaming." Two other riverboat casinos also began operations on the same day as the Diamond Lady in 1991 – the President in Davenport and the Dubuque Casino Belle.
Goldstein went on to found Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. in 1992. Today, the Company celebrates the launch of riverboat gaming as one of the largest publicly traded gaming companies in the United States, operating fifteen properties from Florida to Colorado and Iowa to Mississippi. Commercial casinos now operate in 13 states, with racetrack casinos legalized in another eight, according to the American Gaming Association's 2010 State of the States report. Nationwide, commercial and racetrack casinos employ over 350,000 employees, and paid almost $8 billion in gaming tax revenue and distributions to state and local governments in 2009.
Gustafson's two decade journey with Isle took him from Iowa to casinos in Mississippi, Louisiana and Colorado before returning to Bettendorf where the regional gaming industry was born. "When the Diamond Lady left the dock in Bettendorf twenty years ago, I thought I had a good job," Gustafson recalled. "Instead, I found a rewarding career in an industry that has made a major economic contribution in the United States."
Both Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf and Rhythm City Casino in Davenport will honor the historic launch of riverboat gaming with promotions all month long.
About Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc.
Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., founded in 1992, is dedicated to providing its customers with an exceptional gaming and entertainment experience at each of its 15 casino properties. The Company owns and operates casinos domestically in Biloxi, Lula, Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Bettendorf, Davenport, Marquette and Waterloo, Iowa; Boonville, Caruthersville and Kansas City, Missouri, two casinos in Black Hawk, Colorado, and a casino and harness track in Pompano Beach, Florida. Additionally, the Company was chosen to develop a new Isle-branded gaming facility in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, which is expected to open in late calendar year 2012.
More information is available at the Company's website, www.islecorp.com.
Jill Haynes, senior director, corporate communication
SOURCE Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc.