When the Diamond Lady left Bettendorf, Iowa, 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 riverboat gaming in July 1989. Illinois, Mississippi and Colorado entered the race to legalize gaming in 1990 and Louisiana joined the race in 1991. Under the guidance of Bernard Goldstein a new industry was launched April 1, 1991, and Goldstein, who died in 2009, would become known as the “Father of Riverboat Gaming.”
Goldstein went on to found Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. in 1992. Now, the company, which was headquartered on the Mississippi Gulf Coast before relocating to St. Louis, Mo., celebrates the launch of riverboat gaming as one of the largest publicly traded gaming companies in the United States, operating 15 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.
Source: Isle of Capri Casinos Inc.