LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) - It's been several months since the Little River waterfront welcomed the Aquasino and now nearby businesses are evaluating the gambling boat's economic impact.
Tony Digenaro owns Rum Runnerz Bar and Grill on the waterfront and he says although he's seen a boost in the number of people coming to the area, they're not spending money at businesses like his.
He expected to cash in on the people drawn to the waterfront after Aquasino's debut, but says it's actually doing the opposite.
"When they get off the boat they're full. They had their few drinks. They hop in their cars and they go home. So yes it does hurt us a little bit," Digenaro said.
Although there are a lucky few, other businesses agree with Digenaro and don't benefit much at all from the casino boat.
"[There are] employees that'll come and get a drink before or in between shifts or get something to eat between shifts, but other than that we really do not get much business from them," said Neil Mantor, manager at Crab Catchers.
According to the people at Key West Crazy, another restaurant on the waterfront, business has definitely increased with the addition of Aquasino. Shae Thompson is a server there and she says people come in to grab dinner or a cocktail before or after their gambling trip.
"There's a lot to offer down here and a lot of people come down for the casino boats and find us. They don't realize there's so much happening on the waterfront in Little River," said Thompson.