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Wild Rose Casino & Resort celebrates grand opening

17 July 2008

CLINTON, Iowa -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Iowa's last riverboat casino has cruised inland to a new $35 million destination resort just off Highway 30 at 777 Wild Rose Drive. The 120,000-square-foot Wild Rose Casino & Resort features a full casino with 598 slots and 14 table games as well as a 60-room hotel, conference center, sports bar and buffet. The facility celebrates its grand opening this weekend with cash drawings, a slot tournament and other prizes and specials. Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers will christen the new grand ballroom with a show starting at 7 p.m.

"This is the beginning of a new era and tradition for our players and guests," said Tim Bollman, general manager of Wild Rose Clinton. "Since first dropping anchor as the Mississippi Belle II, this casino has offered a fun place to play. Our new land-based casino takes the experience to the next level by offering amenities such as a single-level gaming floor, Coaches' Corner Sports Bar, Sawmill Buffet, Wild Rose Hotel and the Oakwood Grand Ballroom."

The design, which reflects a Prairie-style exterior, highlights the lumber and river town history of Clinton. Vintage black and white photographs create a visual history of the city's progress and development from the early 1880s when the first sawmill was built and grand riverboats ruled the Mississippi to present day. The center bar is called the Round House, conjuring up images of the old Chicago and Northwestern Railroad round house, once the biggest in the United States, that still exists in downtown Clinton.

"The response from the community and guests "is already beyond what we expected as our guests are experiencing all the positive changes our new facility has to offer. Right out of the gate, we can feature entertainment such as the Gatlin Brothers and hold events and parties that simply weren't possible at the old location," Bollman said. "The new location near Highway 30 is easier to find, even for our many out-of-state players who drive in primarily from Illinois and Wisconsin." On-site parking is a major benefit at the new Wild Rose casino. At the riverboat, patrons had to park several blocks away. In addition to acres of parking, the new casino offers valet service.

Despite the nostalgia, the cruising riverboat casino has been restricted by limited space and logistical constraints from offering a full-destination gaming experience in terms of dining and entertainment. The Mississippi Belle II, which first launched on the big river in June 1991, took its last cruise on October 10, 2007. When Wild Rose acquired the casino in June 2006, it worked with the city and Clinton County Community Development Association (CCCDA) on a proposal to relocate inland. The community supported the plan and leveraged the opportunity to develop new recreation and amenities on the city's riverfront.

First True Land-Based Casino

Wild Rose Clinton is the first true land-based casino in that its casino floor is built over land, not water as had been the state law prior to May 2007.

"Early on, the community of Clinton embraced gaming as a way to increase tourism and boost the local economy, so it seems only fitting that Clinton should be the first to represent the newest style in Iowa gaming," Bollman added.

Future events to be held in the Wild Rose grand ballroom include Papa Doo Run Run, Hotel California, Brandon Cash and Al Hull's Elvis Memories. Wild Rose Clinton draws patrons from a multi-state region with about 60 percent of its players coming from out-of-state. The casino has maintained its gaming revenues throughout the construction period, which speaks to the loyalty of its customers.

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