Missouri Gaming Commission undergoes major personnel changes including the replacement of Gene McNary

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon named several new members to the Missouri Gaming Commission.  The Kansas City Star reported:

A former sheriff and a corporate executive have been appointed to the Missouri Gaming Commission. Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday appointed Barrett Hatches and Jack Merritt to the commission that regulates casinos and bingo halls.  Merritt is a Republican from the city of Republic. He retired from the Missouri  Highway Patrol in 1997 after a 27-year career and served as sheriff of Greene Countyfrom 2001 through 2008. Hatches is a Democrat from Kansas City who served as chief operating officer of Swope Community Enterprises from 2004 until this year. He also worked for Missouri Gas Energy. The appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

Its was also reported that the current Gaming Commission director, Gene McNary, is resigning effective July 1st. Rodger Stottlemeyre, a former Missouri Highway Patrol superintendent and the current Director of Enforcement for the Gaming Commission, was named as the new Executive Director.  McNary indicated that it was Gov. Nixon’s appointment of Hatches and Merritt that lead to his resignation.  The St Louis Business Journal reported:

“The day before yesterday’s commission meeting, the governor announced two new appointees to the commission. Gene clearly saw a changing of the guard,” said LeAnn McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the commission. “He is familiar with the term process and wanted to provide for a smooth transition. Roger is here and is Gene’s deputy. He knows the process and where we are at with the (soon-to-be-available gaming) license. The whole process was done in the best interest of commission and the state.”

The Gaming Commission will have control over which company is awarded the next casino license and where that license will be granted.  Given the fire McNary’s decision to revoke the President Casino’s gaming license has come under, some are speculating that St Louis Mayor Francis Slay and other legislators who wanted to limit the commission’s authority on the matter have succeeded on applying the pressure needed to see McNary out of office.  As the St Louis Post Dispatch reported, the Exceutive Director will play a major role in the location of the new casino:

McNary was poised to be a key player in the decision, which is expected to pit competing proposals from Cape Girardeau, the St. Louis region, Sugar Creek near Kansas City and possibly elsewhere in the state. The executive director leads the staff that will analyze casino proposals and has typically acted as the state’s voice on gambling issues. Now that job will fall to Stottlemyre.

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