Casino Watch Focus reported that with The President Casino closing, its gaming license would be available for a new company or casino to operate along the Missouri or Mississippi rivers. There are three key areas for possible development, the Sugar Creek area in Kansas City, the Chain of Rocks area in St Louis, and Gape Girardeau. The St Louis Post dispatch is reporting that 15 deferent groups have expressed interest in obtaining the casino license and they range from real estate developers, gambling companies and local governments:
— St. Louis businessman Jim Koman, a part owner of the Casino Queen who through a separate company called Casino Celebration holds a site just south of the Chain of Rocks bridge, where he would put a $125 million riverboat casino.
— Attorney Brad Lakin, who leads North County Development LLC, which has won rezoning approval to put a casino complex on 350 acres south of the Columbia River Bottoms.
— Creve Coeur-based Isle of Capri Casinos, which didn’t specify a site and appears to be eyeing at least two. It was the only large casino company to raise its hand.
— West Alton Partners LLC, a group that tried unsuccessfully to put a riverboat in that small north St. Louis County town in 1996.
— Blue Sky Development, which owns a casino in Indiana and is interested in an unspecified site in the city of St. Louis.
— Three separate groups that are eying Cape Girardeau, including one led by Joe Uram, former chief financial officer of Argosy Gaming.
— Coastal Capital Management LLC, a New York-based casino developer run by Kenneth Shea, who led gambling operations for Carl Icahn’s Icahn Capital hedge fund.
— Ingenus Management, a Minnesota-based casino consultancy company, which is trying to win a license in Ottumwa, Iowa.
— The city of Sugar Creek, Mo., near Kansas City, which narrowly lost out on a new casino in 2008 when voters capped licenses at the current 13.
This is an early step in the process, but there is clear interest in each of the major Missouri area. The Kansas City and St Louis markets would be best equipped to absorb the social and economic impacts of a new city over an area such as Cape Girardeau. With the Missouri legislative session coming to an end, it seems highly unlikely that any legislation will be proposed to lower the number of casinos from 13 down to 12.