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Delaware North Companies Completes Acquisition, Begins Operating Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island, Ill.

 Family-owned, global hospitality company adds casino resort to growing gaming portfolio

ROCK ISLAND, Ill., and BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 27, 2011) – Delaware North Companies, a global hospitality company that owns and operates several U.S. casinos and gaming venues, today announced it has completed its acquisition of Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island, Ill.
Delaware North today began operating Jumer’s, the premier casino resort in the Quad Cities region, after closing on the purchase from the Jumer family and receiving approval in mid-April from the Illinois Gaming Board. The $180 million purchase agreement was announced Sept. 9, 2010.
Jumer’s features a casino with more than 1,100 slots and 24 table games, as well as a live poker room, high-limit slot area and a VIP lounge. Amenities include a 205-room hotel with an indoor pool and fitness center, salon and day spa, events center with meeting rooms for up to 600 people, four restaurants, a nightclub, a sports bar and lakeside fire pit.
Privately owned by the Jacobs family of Buffalo, N.Y., since its founding in 1915, Delaware North is a $2 billion hospitality management company that operates food service, lodging, gaming, and retail services at locations in the United States and several other countries.
“We are very proud to add such a highly regarded property as Jumer’s Casino & Hotel to our growing portfolio of U.S. gaming operations,” said William Bissett, president of Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment. “On behalf of Delaware North Companies and the Jacobs family, I want to thank the Jumer family and the casino’s management team and dedicated staff for an effective transition. We also thank the Illinois Gaming Board for its review and approval of our comprehensive operational plans.”
Since opening in December 2008, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel has become one of the leading destination casinos in the Midwest. Jumer’s had been privately owned by the D. James Jumer Trust and operated by The Rock Island Boatworks Inc.
“The Jumer family is proud and honored to have been a casino operator in the Quad Cities and the state of Illinois for two decades,” said Ron Wicks, who led the casino as its president and CEO, speaking on behalf of the Jumer family.
He said the Jumer family has “mixed emotions” that it is ending its tenure as an original casino operator in the Quad Cities but departs knowing that the tradition of Jumer’s Casino and Hotel as a family-operated business passes into the hands of another family-operated business.
“As we proudly say farewell, we are confident that Jumer’s is being left in the very capable hands of Delaware North Companies and that the success of Jumer’s will continue into the next two decades and beyond,” Wicks said.
Delaware North is retaining the Jumer’s name, which is well recognized in the region, and is not planning any major renovations, Bissett said. He said the casino was developed and maintained in excellent condition by the Jumer family and has performed well even amid the economic challenges of recent years.
The casino’s new management team will be headed by Therrin Protze, who joined Delaware North in 2006 and has nearly 20 years of experience in the gaming industry, including in Illinois. An eight-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Protze managed Delaware North’s efforts in preparation for assuming the Jumer’s operation. He will serve as president and general manager.
Delaware North is retaining all current staff at this time and plans on maintaining the current size of the staff, about 550 employees, Protze said. The company will integrate its core business systems and processes into the operation, including its highly regarded customer service program, GuestPath®, and its environmental management program, GreenPath®. Delaware North will also use its extensive culinary expertise to enhance the food experience at Jumer’s.
Protze said Delaware North is also exploring opportunities to enhance the marketing of the venue in the region. It will maintain Jumer’s IMAGE Player’s Club and the points program with rewards such as free play and restaurant and hotel vouchers.
An important initiative for Delaware North over the next several months will be to become part of the Rock Island community, he said.
“Delaware North has a strong track record of being an important part of the communities where we operate and providing support to a wide array of community organizations,” Protze said. “We look forward to building strong relationships within the community, including with the City of Rock Island and with many civic organizations.”
For Delaware North, the acquisition of Jumer’s represents a significant addition to its gaming portfolio, which now includes seven regional gaming and entertainment destinations across the United States.
In addition to Jumer’s, Delaware North owns and operates Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in West Virginia; Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack near Rochester, N.Y.; Southland Park Gaming and Racing in Arkansas near Memphis, Tenn.; Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Poker Room in Florida; and a simulcast and OTB venue near Phoenix, Ariz. The company also manages the Hamburg Casino at the Fairgrounds near Buffalo, N.Y., and its gaming hospitality group provides hospitality and food service at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Oklahoma.
In addition to the hotel at the Wheeling Island casino, Delaware North operates more than a dozen hotels, including The Ahwahnee and several other lodges in Yosemite National Park. It owns and operates Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa in British Columbia, several hotels near Yellowstone National Park and five luxury resorts in Australia.
In the Illinois region, Delaware North operates food, beverage and retail services for the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, and St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome – all through the company’s Sportservice division.