What does it mean to have an Urban Casino at the WATERPOWER ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT IN DOWNTOWN ROCKFORD?


  • “The terms, “Urban Casino” or “Urban Gaming” are used in a variety of contexts. Historically, they have been used to broadly describe casinos which have been developed within the boundaries of American cities. They include everything from the casinos along the boardwalk in Atlantic City to casinos housed on riverboats and barges moored near central business districts and in the industrial zones of many Midwestern cities”


  • “The vast majority of casino development in North American cities can best be described as island casino development. This term refers to casinos that are built as self-contained developments. They are physically separated from the surrounding community.”


  1. Urban Casinos Operators embrace their downtown neighbors by partnering with them to create additional amenities for their guests.
  2. Urban Casino Operators partner with local venues already in place and support and host concerts and events on an ongoing basis.
  3. Urban casinos traditionally are committed to serving the communities in which they do business.
  4. Urban Casinos Operators, as part of their mission, believe strongly in the philosophy of giving back. Their team members on the entertainment campus regularly participate in events such as food and toy drives, school supply drives, walkathons, and volunteer days.
  5. Their teams from the restaurants, hotels, retail shops and casino extend beyond cash donations as they also volunteer their time and energy.
  6. Urban Casinos are designed from the ground to engage pedestrians and support downtown businesses, culture, nightlife and sports attractions wherever they are implanted within a Community.
  7. While Urban Casinos guests are indeed locals from all quadrants of a community, each property does see a large and significant number of guests from outside the community, driving to this destination or being charted to the entertainment destination by multiple motor coach lines serving from multiple adjacent states.
  8. As part of their marketplace vision, Urban Casinos Operators know that while Baby Boomers are part of their entertainment customer base, Millennials and their younger cohorts will reshape the Casino industry into the future, with their tech-savvy, mobile-first image, with ramifications for all companies and communities alike.
  9. The outdated Island Casino model, much like their first cousin the bricks and sticks of the banking location, is not as relevant to these groups. Millennials, who this year became the most populous generation in the U.S. at 73 million, overtaking the 72-million-strong post-war Baby Boomers, are changing the face of commerce. Unlike their parents, Millennials want more family friendly and multiple fun entertainment venues that are hosted in an Urban Casino gateway. Operators have been waiting a while for this next pocket of growth. Gen X, which hit its 25- to 40-year-old entertainment stride this year, have significant disposable income.
  10. Urban Casino Operators design their entertainment campus projects which allow the casino to connect to the street grid and allow for the free flow of pedestrians and tourists into and out of the property, which is so, so very different from an Island Casino Destination structure.
  11. Unlike the Urban Casino, Island Casinos are true “islands” onto themselves with no economic benefit or gain to the neighboring business, as the old expression goes, “They Dine & Dash!”

(Source: Klebanow, Andrew M., Casinos and the City: A White Paper on the History of Casino Development in Cities, Past and Current Trends, and Recommendations for Future Development, Global Market Advisors LLC)

(Photos property of MGM Casino in Springfield, MA)

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