Eagle Summit closes its doors for the last time

By Kaili Berg

     On January 6, Eagle Summit at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells closed its doors for the last time.

     Eagle Summit is an 18+ casino which offers a full range of class ll games and much more.

     Initially, planners wanted to use the space as a poker room. Executive Management decided poker was not very profitable, so the decision to put Eagle Summit in that space was ideal at that time.

     “To their defense, there was no historical data that they could draw from at the time. They made some estimates, but unfortunately, those estimates were not lived up too,” said John Phillip, current Executive Manager at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells.

     “The planning was correct, the decision to do it was correct,” said John. “An old mentor told me, ‘try new stuff John, but if you fail, fail fast,’ and sometimes the best projections in the world don’t pan out, which is the case for Eagle Summit.”

     Currently, a four-month escalator project will be happening at the Wisconsin Dells location. This planned preventative maintenance project limits upward mobility to the second floor of the building. Many of the cliental are seniors, which could cause limitations in their ability to access Eagle Summit. The disruption to the floor would cause a loss that would be precipitous, which led to the decision to close Eagle Summit before the project started. 

     “Closure was not taken lightly, and we did our homework. Unfortunately, we were not profitable in that space, and we really worked hard with marketing efforts,” said John.

     There is currently not a clear plan for the space.  Ideas for putting poker, a restaurant, a night club, and even sports betting when it is legal have been discussed. 

     “There are all kinds of ideas floating around out there, but none of them are home runs yet,” said John.

     There are no job losses over this decision, and all the Team Members will be working down on the main floor. There are many positions open, and everyone was absorbed down into the main floor workspace.

     “We are very concerned and aware at managing resources on behalf of our stakeholders.  We are looking out for the whole, and we listen to their concerns, but the fact of the matter is that we have to manage at the Enterprise level. We take that very seriously,” said Wendy K. White Eagle, Executive Director of Business.

     “The train is out of the station, and we all have a responsibility. People are making decisions every day, whether they are on the train or not. We are moving and excited about the positive growth that is going to happen on behalf of our Tribal Members and future generations.”

     “In conclusion we wanted it to work, we tried to make it work. We ran promotions and marketing to try and get it to work,” said John. “I have worked in the casino business for a long time, and I have yet in my career to see an upper-level gaming space do well.”