Casino grand opening set for Aug. 7-8
By ANDREW McGINN
Wild Rose Jefferson will open as scheduled on Aug. 1, with fireworks and nationally known entertainment the following weekend, casino management told those gathered Monday for “media day” at the $40 million facility still under construction.
The casino’s grand opening Aug. 7-8 will feature fireworks displays “and all the bells and whistles that come along with it,” said Aaron Harn, the casino’s newly hired marketing manager.
Harn wasn’t ready Monday to disclose details of the opening concert — “He’s a Grammy winner,” Harn said about the headliner — but the show will be held indoors in the Greene Room, the casino’s 1,000-seat events center.
The casino expects to announce details of the concert around July 4.
“Every seat’s a great seat,” Harn, a Waterloo native, said of the events center. “It will be the highlight of this property.”
For members of the media and the Grow Greene County Gaming Corp., the highlight of Monday’s event was undoubtedly a sneak peek of the gaming floor, which is completely carpeted and glowing from the 525 slot machines in place.
A giant red dragon atop a “Dungeons & Dragons”-themed slot machine rotated silently in preparation for opening day as work continued on Lucky’s, the nearby casino bar.
The slot machines are in the process of being tested by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
“Beautiful,” remarked Brenda Muir, a member of Grow Greene County from Rippey. “Look at this carpet.”
“It’ll be a good place for people to come be entertained,” she added, “whether they want to gamble or not. It’s just what we needed in the county.”
Beginning Aug. 1, the casino will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. weekdays, and will stay open 24 hours weekends, according to General Manager Mike Couch.
The casino — at the corner of U.S. Highway 30 and Iowa Highway 4 — will feature a nonsmoking section.
Hiring for the casino, according to Couch, is 40 percent complete.
Another job fair is set for 9 a.m. to noon June 27 at the temporary casino office, located in Jefferson’s former MicroSoy Flake plant off Central Avenue.
The casino expects to employ 250 with an estimated annual payroll of $7 million.
Hiring dealers for 12 live table games is the casino’s main priority, Couch said.
Those already hired recently began “dealer school,” where they learn the ins and outs of blackjack, craps and novelty games. Couch is inviting anyone with an interest in becoming a dealer to attend as well.
“If you like it, and we think you will, you’re welcome to stay,” he said.
While the rainy weather has played a role in slowing construction, Couch reminded those in attendance that Friday marked only the one-year anniversary of the state’s vote to issue a gaming license to Greene County.
“We’ve come an excellent distance from that,” Couch said. “It’s been some amazing progress.”