Cape Girardeau's Isle of Capri, impact on Metropolis' Harrah's - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau's Isle of Capri, impact on Metropolis' Harrah's

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METROPOLIS, IL (KFVS) -

There's a new player in the Heartland when it comes to attracting gamblers.

The Isle of Capri opened its doors in downtown Cape Girardeau on Tuesday to thousands of people.

Across the river in southern Illinois, city leaders in Metropolis are keeping a close eye on how the new gaming casino will play out for their town.

"I don't see them drawing that much from the same areas where we draw from," said Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel. "People from Cape Girardeau are not going to draw, I don't think from Nashville, Tennessee and places like that. Where they can get on the interstate, come straight up here in two hours, get off the interstate and be here in Metropolis. That doesn't happen in Cape Girardeau."

But, could any drop in attendance at Harrah's casino trickle down to business owners in downtown Metropolis?

"I haven't really given it much thought," said Kim Wilkins Owner of Dippin Dots. "I mean our business basically caters to the locals, the courthouse and the tourist that come into see Superman. We do get a little bit of business from Harrah's boat."

There are already some empty store fronts up and down both sides of Main Street in downtown Metropolis. One business owner says she is concerned about the future of her store.

"I think that there will be more of the busses and so forth from Nashville and Saint Louis going to the new casino," said Debbie Cuttrell Owner of Debbie's Eclectic Emporium. "We get a lot of trade here from the bus tours and groups that come in, I think we'll lose part of that."

Over the years the City of Metropolis has reaped the benefits of having Harrah's Casino tied up to its shores, mainly in millions of dollars in taxes on gaming revenue.

Mayor McDaniel says he doesn't think that Harrah's will just sit and watch gamblers go somewhere else.

"They're not going to sit still and let somebody just come in and take their customers," said Mayor McDaniel. "They're going to have promotions, they're going to take care of their business. Just like and other independent retail business. And that is what it is, you're selling a product. And they're masters at it. They know what they've got to do to get people to come to the City of Metropolis."

None of our phone calls to Harrah's for a comment on the casino opening in Cape Girardeau were returned.

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