In his report to city council on Oct. 15, Des Plaines City Manager Michael Bartholomew told council members a video about the city’s partnership with Rivers Casino was debuted at the International City Managers Association conference he attended in Arizona last week.
“It’s something we can use on into the future to talk about the good economic development things we’re doing in the city,” Bartholomew said. “I hope you all had an opportunity to look at it, and agree that it’s a pretty remarkable video.”
Since opening in July 2011, , has been the leading Illinois casino in monthly totals of adjusted gross receipts and admissions, compared with the other nine gaming venues. Rivers Casino generated adjusted gross receipts in excess of $40 million in September for the second time since opening.
In an interview with Patch, Bartholomew said Rivers Casino provided some of the interior footage of the gaming venue, and they spliced that with other filming they did. Bartholomew said the goal of the video was to attract developers and casino-related business to Des Plaines. The total cost of the marketing video was approximately $9,000, he said.
“[The purpose of the video was] to let people know we are interested in creating economic development ideas, and we did one, and it’s a successful one,” Bartholomew said. “If we get that word out, there’s also businesses and people that might have another business that would have some synergy with a successful casino that might be interested in developing here and talking about some sort of package we could put together with them.”
Bartholomew said the video was not intended to market the entire city; it focused on one partnership.
“It’s not as specific marketing as we will do in the future where it talks about all the different things in Des Plaines and why you should bring your business here,” Bartholomew said. “This highlights a business and a specific partnership that we did in just one specific instance, as opposed to the entire city. But we’ll expand that reach.”
Bartholomew said while many people in Illinois were aware of Rivers Casino and Des Plaines, not everyone around the country was.
“So we’re trying to cast a wider net,” Bartholomew said.
In the video, Barb Ryan, executive director of the , said local businesses including hotels, restaurants, stores and gas stations had benefited from the casino opening.
“Rivers Casino, by being in Des Plaines, has really kind of put Des Plaines on the map,” Ryan said. “People that maybe had never visited our community before now are coming here everyday.”
Bill Keena, general manager at Rivers Casino, said in the video, in the first year of operation 3.9 million people went through their turnstiles.
“I would venture to say that in our first full year of operation I would venture to say we’re going to be one of the top four destination places for the people of Illinois,” Keena said.
The video may be viewed on the City of Des Plaines website, YouTube, local cable channel 17 and on the International City Manager Association’s website for 12 months.
At special budget hearings this week, Des Plaines aldermen discussed how to spend the city’s first allotment of gaming tax revenues, approximately $3.3 million. Debt service and a variety of infrastructure projects were reviewed. The final annual budget hearing will take place at city hall on Oct. 30.
Check out all the Des Plaines videos on YouTube. The last one was about all the programs at the Des Plaines Public Library in October.