Casino Watch Focus reported that after the September deadline for casino applications, only five proposals were turned in. Then, The St Louis Post Dispatch reported that the Gaming Commission rejected one of the Sugar Creek application because it was incomplete leaving only four to be considered. The clear consensus has been that the Missouri Gaming Commission is favoring Cape Girardeau. There is a very real possibility that the city could vote against the casino leaving the Gaming Commission with only three applications. Now, the Columbia Missourian is reporting that the Gaming Commission is considering not awarding a company the 13th license:
Who will get Missouri’s 13th casino license? Maybe no one, according to Missouri Gaming Commission chairman Jim Mathewson, who will be in Cape Girardeau on Monday to lead the public hearing at the River Campus at Southeast Missouri State University.
“Not doing one is an option,” said the former state senator from Sedalia. “The law says you can’t have more than 13, not that you have to have 13.”
While that scenario seems unlikely, Mathewson said he is awaiting a study being done by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
The questions he wants answered before he votes include:
- What will the economic impact of a casino be?
- How much profit will a 13th casino take from the other 12?
- Would it work better in one part of the state or another?
- Exactly how much new revenue for the state would a 13th casino create?
“If our study comes out and says that we’re not really creating any new revenue, all we’re doing is stealing from Peter to pay Paul, what’s the point?” Mathewson said.
It seems even more apparent now that the vote in Cape Girardeau is the single most important factor in the expansion of gambling in Missouri. It’s clear that the Commission is positioning itself to hold back the license and possibly reopen bids for next year in the event the Cape casino proposal is defeated. A vote against gambling in Cape, could be a vote to help protect families all across the state.