Sunday, January 1, 2012

My First Riverboat Casino: The Isle Of Capri Casino In Kansas City Is Pretty Blah.

The Good: Some good games, Easy to find, Free drinks
The Bad: Smoky, Old games, No real gimmick, Could use many more games!
The Basics: A mediocre at best casino, the Kansas City Isle Of Capri has old games and a smoky atmosphere with little else to it.

In my many casino adventures in the last few years, there have been remarkably few adventures that have taken me through the Midwest when I've had both time and money to stop. In that section of the United States, casinos are often riverboat casinos which are docked, floating casinos on the major rivers and while there is some novelty to them, I've not had much occasion to stop at them. The first year I did a cross-country trip with my mother, we did stop at a few, including the Isle Of Capri Casino in Kansas City, Missouri, but I did not go in. This year, however, I had reason to stop there with my partner and this time we not only went in, we actually gambled together.

My partner and I were traveling through the Midwest on our way home from our annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas this summer when we decided to spend a night in the Kansas City area. We awoke at our Comfort Inn (reviewed here!) and noticed there were brochures for casinos in the area and the desk clerk there recommended the Isle Of Capri Casino. The clerk said getting there was easy (and it was) but when we arrived, we were amused by a series of contradictions that made the Isle Of Capri in Kansas City a remarkably average (at best) casino. From almost the moment we crossed the permanent gangplank, we found ourselves confounded.

Isle Of Capri Casino: came in with $10.00, left with $25.00.


The Isle Of Capri is a riverboat casino permanently docked at 1800 East Front Street. This is right off Kansas route 71 and Interstates 29 and 35. We were headed down 71 anyway and there were several signs that made it very easy to get to this casino. As well, Mapquest and similar sites now have accurate directions to the Isle Of Capri Casino with that street address.

The Isle Of Capri Casino is exactly what is sounds like when one says a riverboat gambling establishment. This is a massive, very stable, boat with multiple levels which is sitting on the River. It is white and looks like a classic riverboat of the 1800s down to a giant wheel on the back (decorative only). There is a walkway from the parking lot across the street over to the actual riverboat and one must walk up a fairly steep ramp to gain admittance. Sadly, the water around the Isle Of Capri is filled with garbage and it makes for an instantly underwhelming presentation for those arriving the first time.


The Isle Of Capri Casino is a deceptively-sized casino in Kansas City. The casino is actually only situated on the lower deck, so when one enters the massive building/boat, they must provide identification and then go down an escalator to the actual gaming floor. As a result, the actual casino is hardly as large as it seems from the outside.

Here was the first of many weird contradictions in the Isle Of Capri. When one enters the Isle Of Capri Casino, there are a number of "No Smoking" signs. This immediately made me feel relieved and glad that perhaps going to the casino would not be an annoying and lethal second-hand smoking experience. But the No Smoking area is only the upper level before one descends into the casino proper. On the gaming floor, the atmosphere is very smoky and utterly unpleasant. In fact, were it not for the fact that I started breathing through my nose exclusively and drinking pretty constantly, I am sure my throat would have been raw by the time we left the Isle Of Capri, it was that smoky. In fact, it was worst in the corners which is - coincidentally - where some of the best games were.

As for the "atmosphere" of the Isle Of Capri, the staff was very professionally dressed. The men wore suits and the women wore pantsuits and tuxedo shirts. The people we spoke with were friendly. There was nothing distinctive, though, about either the outfits or the decor of the casino. This immediately brings it down some as there is also nothing terribly memorable about this casino.

Gaming Options/Player's Club

I have a very simple gambling philosophy: I sit down at a slot machine with $5.00. I work it up to $10 or down to zero. I know my limits: I can afford to lose $5.00. So, when I am above that, I'll usually work it up or whittle it down to the next even $5.00. Have a strategy, know your limits: the Isle Of Capri Casino worked quite well for me. My partner and I each sat down with our five dollars and within half an hour, I had lost my five and she had quintupled hers to twenty-five (actually, she went a little higher and then worked her way back down to the nearest five).

I'm primarily a slot machine player and I have no shame in admitting, I tend to like the ones that are more video game-like. The Isle Of Capri Casino had no new video slot machines or any that were distinctive to the casino. In fact, virtually every game we saw at the casino was one we had at our local casino. So, for example, there were a few terminals each of Money Storm, Monopoly, The Munsters, Clara T, Medusa's Gold, Benny Big Game, Hoot Loot, Wheel Of Fortune, Fort Knox, Mystical Mermaid, and Creature From The Black Lagoon. This is a pretty standard and bland selection of games. In fact, the only different games we saw were ones that were even older, like The Pink Panther (which turns out to be quite fun and very profitable) and Bedtime Stories (or something like that, it had a whole sleep theme and that's where my partner did quite well).

For those who might be into games of chance and card games instead of the fun video slot machines, there are only about two dozen tables at this riverboat casino. Considering there's only about a thousand video slots, this is not terribly surprising. There are a dozen blackjack tables and two craps tables. Other table games like roulette, Pai-Gow, and Baccarat are relegated to a table each. This is not a great location for table games diversity.

There is a player's club at the Isle Of Capri, which is the Isle One. Signing up is easy and there was no line when we went to sign up. Signing up does not get the player anything. The points accrue slowly based on a mysterious formula related to how much one bets over the course of the time spent at machines and we only accrued a few points while at the Isle Of Capri. However, they do not seem to do anything special as far as incentives for those who sign up as I recently had a birthday and did not get any mailers from this casino.

Entertainment Options

The Isle Of Capri Casino has occasional musical entertainment. None of the listed acts were recognizable to me or my partner and it is clear entertainment is not a big priority here. Instead, there is a lounge with a television in it and that seems pretty disappointing for anyone looking for a full casino experience.

Dining Options

We arrived at the Isle Of Capri around eleven a.m. after we had just had breakfast at our hotel. As a result, we did not try the Calypso Buffet, but there was that dining option and snacks at the gift shop at this casino. In fact, while we were at the casino, we did not see anyone even coming out of the buffet, so we've no idea even how others were enjoying it.

Shopping Options

The Isle Of Capri has a gift shop, most of the swag from which seems to be selling Kansas City and the Isle Of Capri. There were snacks as well in the gift shop, but largely it was glass and plastic knickknacks and we found nothing of note there.


In all, the Isle Of Capri Casino was remarkably average and that leaves it with nothing worth recommending by my standards. Anyone who truly likes the casino experience will find this one to be woefully disappointing.

For other casino reviews, please check out my takes on:
Excalibur Casino
Hacienda Casino
Tuscany Casino


For other travel reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
Isle of Capri Casino Resort Biloxi

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