D thrills entrance to river boat paradice casino Peoria Illinois tons of slots ahhhhh
Par-A-Dice Captain Is Lucky to Roll Once a Year He Proves Riverboat's Seaworthiness, Then Helps Manage Casino The Par-A-Dice Riverboat Casino leaves the dock for two hours each year.
What's the point of having them tailored?
As captain of the Par-A-Dice riverboat casino, among the last paradise riverboat casino east peoria illinois vessels to actually leave a dock, he sails only once a year.
What's the point of having them tailored?
As captain of the Par-A-Dice riverboat casino, among gala casino ipad last such vessels to actually leave a dock, he sails only once a year.
O'Donohue, 49 years old, who has been the casino's full-time captain for 20 years.
But on the one day the boat sails, he wants people to know who is in charge.
O'Donohue says he rescued crab fisherman in the Bering Sea and confronted drug runners in the Caribbean.
But now Captain Pat, as his crew and casino staff call him, sails the sleepy Illinois River for just a few hours each year to prove the seaworthiness of the 33,000-square-foot casino.
Advertisement On the paradise riverboat casino east peoria illinois of the ship's annual Coast Guard inspection, Mr.
O'Donohue fired up the ship's diesel engines and ordered the crew to cast off the lines for the boat to set sail.
O'Donohue said, savoring the moment as his crew cast off lines and the ship pushed away from the dock.
Then he noted how rarely it happens these days.
More than an hour into the cruise, the four-decker boat shuddered to a halt, crew members scrambling across the ship shouting into their radios.
The ship was stuck in all the muck accumulated since last year's sailing.
O'Donohue radioed for a tug.
But after some maneuvering and a few choice curse words, he got the lumbering ship under way again without outside assistance.
Advertisement "You haven't lost that touch have you, Captain?
Although riverboats hark back to the days of Mark Twain, the modern floating gambling industry began in the 1990s when a number of state legislatures authorized casinos as long as they were on operational riverboats.
The Illinois legislature approved up to 10 casino licenses for boats, which all had to cruise.
But the novelty wore off as gamblers were forced to wait on empty docks for boats to pick them up.
Once aboard, the majority of casino patrons wanted to play cards, not admire waterfowl.
Others didn't have enough cash to last through the two-hour cruise.
Advertisement "Over time, because the cruise itself was not integral to the gaming, owners convinced state authorities that the cruise was not necessary," said Bill Kline, president of The River School in Memphis, where many would-be captains for all manner of boats go for training and certification.
Windows on boats were eventually blacked out to eliminate natural light.
Those just click for source types of changes upset gamblers like Christopher Miller, 69, who lives down the road just click for source the Par-A-Dice in East Peoria.
Even now, he still likes to walk on the deck with his wife, Barbara, when paradise riverboat casino east peoria illinois get tired of playing the slots on the three or so days a week they visit the Par-A-Dice.
Advertisement In the 2000s, the Coast Guard moved to forgo regulation for vessels that don't sail, said Jeff Carie with the U.
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Chicago.
The changes have decimated the number of riverboat casinos in need of captain and crew.
The Coast Guard says there are three riverboat casinos that still have USCG certification: the Par-A-Dice, the Glory of Rome in Elizabeth, Ind.
The Par-A-Dice spends most of its life moored to a dock.
But the more than 1,100 slot machines and dozens of card and dice games still sit aboard a boat requiring Coast Guard certification and a full crew ready to take action should maritime disaster strike.
O'Donohue still has the high-and-tight haircut left over from his days in the Coast Guard after college.
Over the years, his uniform pants have paradise riverboat casino east peoria illinois loosened as he has taken up Ironman triathlons.
Even with limited visibility because of thick fog, he steered the ship into the middle of the river while sipping coffee out of a black and red cup.
When he isn't sailing the ship, Mr.
O'Donohue spends most of his time helping to paradise riverboat casino east peoria illinois and maintain the casino.
The Par-A-Dice crew rescued an auburn-wigged dummy named Oscarette from the Illinois River as part of a man overboard drill, and casino staffers on the deck donned bright orange life jackets to simulate an abandon ship drill.
As the ship pulled up to dock, giddy gamblers lined up, waiting to come aboard.
Once the ship was safely moored, customers streamed onto the boat, slot machines blinking and roaring.
Captain Pat changed into his polo shirt and khakis.
the original Paradice gambling boat in East Peoria - 1991
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