By PAMELA RENSING
A new gaming center will open in Mascoutah as soon as Gov. JB Pritzker lifts the restrictions on gaming sites. Currently all gaming machines are shut down due to COVID restrictions.
Richard and Barbara Hanebrink of Mascoutah are ready for a soft opening of their new center Kokomo Joe’s once the order is rescinded. The new facility is located at 128 East Main.
“This is my first gaming center,” Hanebrink said. “I lived in Troy and saw a lot of them popping up. They are very popular.”
After researching the gaming venture, they decided they wanted to offer a better atmosphere to players than at a bar or gas station. “We have a cabana type of atmosphere that is fun and relaxing.”
“It took about 18 months to get through all the legal and business issues – background checks, permits, finding a building that could be leased, etc. I wasn’t in a big hurry to get it up and running. I wanted to make sure all the ‘i’s’ were dotted and ‘t’s’ crossed.”
Hanebrink said the center will offer the newest in slot machines. “Our machines are brand new, right out of the market. They are very popular in Vegas as well as casinos in the Metro East. We are very excited about the machine selection.”
Kokomo Joe’s will also offer free complimentary soda, coffee, tea, and water. For those interested in drinks while enjoying the slot machines, Happy Hour will be held Monday thru Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., with a variety of specialty drinks.
Hanebrink believes the cabana type ambiance will set them apart from others in the area. The facility will, of course, focus on gambling, but is has two large screen televisions and a small bar. He wanted a comfortable environment for patrons.
“This is something totally different than what is offered in town. For some, machines were added in later for additional revenue.”
Once open, the facility will be operated by the Hanebrinks and a bartender. “We will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, so we do anticipate a few additional employees.”
If the Mascoutah facility grows, they may consider a second gaming center to be located in Troy.
So how did they arrive at the name Kokomo Joe’s?
“We saw a bar in Missouri called Kokomo West, and we always liked that name. And since my father’s name is Joe, it kind of worked out.”
After their soft opening, they will hold a grand opening. “We will offer giveaways such as t-shirts, Koozie cups, a drawing for a Yeti cooler, and more.”
No one under the age of 21 will be allowed inside the facility even if accompanied by an adult.
Follow Kokomo Joe’s on Facebook for further information.