“Built on Tradition”
Bally’s is filled with all sorts of entertainment. During the 1950’s D. James Jumer was a successful franchisee and corporate officer of Chicken Delight Restaurants in Detroit, Michigan and Washington, D.C. In addition, he had successfully developed an exclusive restaurant and club in the Costa del Sol of Spain. Originally from Duluth, Minnesota, Mr. Jumer became eager to return to his Midwest roots. So, in 1960, he acquired Kramer’s Restaurant in Peoria, Illinois, having selected this community due to its thriving business and energetic pace. He successfully converted and expanded Kramer’s into the Jumer’s Castle Lodge, Peoria, Illinois.
Later hotel business expanded to include Jumer’s Castle Lodge, Bettendorf, Iowa, built in 1973; the Castle Lodge of Urbana, Illinois; and in 1988, the Jumer’s Chateau opened in Bloomington, Illinois. A former Sheraton Hotel in Galesburg, Illinois was acquired in 1982 and was renovated to become Jumer’s Continental Inn.
In 1988, Mr. Jumer, now with a successful chain of hotels in operation, expanded his business ventures by constructing The Peoria Boatworks Complex. This unique entertainment complex featured the Spirit of Peoria, an excursion boat with restaurant facilities seating over 400. That operated daily excursions along the Illinois River. The excursion boat was complemented by two permanently moored tug boats. One vessel was the Katie Hooper. This tug boat was converted into a restaurant and the second tug, the Belle Reynolds, was converted to a nautical museum. This development greatly enhanced the Peoria waterfront and was strongly endorsed by the City Council and the citizens of Peoria. A year later in 1989, the state of Iowa became the first state in the union to allow riverboat casino gaming. This precipitated the state of Illinois to pass similar legislation and provided the opportunity for Mr. Jumer to begin a new career in casino gaming.
Riverboat gaming became operational on April 1, 1991 in the Quad Cities. The cities of Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa were the first communities to offer this new entertainment experience. One year later, in March of 1992, the Rock Island Boatworks, featuring the Casino Rock Island, began its gaming cruises.
The Rock Island Boatworks borrowed its facilities concept from the successful Peoria Boatworks Complex. Located in Rock Island, Illinois, the Boatworks was a series of four connected individual floating vessels. They were the Casino Rock Island Riverboat Casino, the Ockerson, the T.G. Gerow and the Effie Afton Tugboat. The last three vessels were all permanently moored. The Casino Rock Island Riverboat and the Ockerson were utilized as a casino. The T.G.Gerow housed the primary Administrative Offices and the Effie Afton Tugboat was a restaurant for the project.
Casino Rock Island had a dramatic impact on the City of Rock Island. The Jumer operation made a concerted effort to work with the businesses in the local community, and from that, the downtown Rock Island business area became “The Rock Island Arts and Entertainment District.” The District currently, is an alive, vibrant place to live, enjoy night life as well as additional retailing opportunities.
On December 1, 2008, Jumer’s opened a new facility and re-branded itself, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel. The all new, state-of-the-art development features a 43,000 one level casino floor; a 205 room hotel with 11 luxury suites; an Events Center; the Oculus Sports Bar; the Edje nightclub; and four restaurants: the Top Hat Deli, the Lakeside Café, the Player’s Buffet and DJ’s Steakhouse, named after our founder, D. James Jumer.
On May 4, 2011, The Jumer’s event center the D. James Jumer Event Center in honor of Jumer’s Casino and Hotel founder, Jim Jumer. In addition, in recognition of past president, Ronald E. Wicks, it officially named the lake adjacent to the casino and hotel, Wicks Lake.
On March 1, 2012, Jumer’s opened the Blue Square Café and Blue Square To Go.
The Blue Square Café and Blue Square To Go was created in the space previously occupied by the Lakeside Café and Top Hat Deli.