Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many failed efforts to establish a new Missouri Casino in the Lake of the Ozarks. The Missouri Constitution only allows for casinos that are along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. A change to the constitution would be required by a vote of the people to amend that condition. However, there is the long path of a tribal casino that wouldn’t need to worry about the constitution, but it would have its own set of very lengthy barriers. That, however, has not stopped the Osage from publicly discussing plans of a new casino, and as such, there are some that want to use that opportunity to push for a new commercially owned casino instead. An online source explains:
Currently, the state constitution only permits gaming along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. But the Osage Nation has purchased land in Lake Ozark for the purpose of building a casino. The Nation is based in Oklahoma, where it owns and operates seven casinos. But its historical lands once encompassed most of what is now Missouri.
It wants the federal government to take the Lake Ozark land into trust, which partially removes it from the jurisdiction of the state. This would convert the land into the tribe’s sovereign reservation, making gaming possible there under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
But a group of local investors have long held ambitions to build their own casino in the area. They’ve formed a political action committee, Osage River Gaming (ORG), which is backing the new bill, filed in the House by State Rep. Ron Hicks (R-St. Charles) earlier this month.
But if this is now a race to build the region’s first casino, it could be an incredibly slow one. Bills proposing gaming expansion are rarely fast-tracked through any state legislature. That means Hicks’ plan to get the question on the ballot in November of this year is ambitious, even if it is ultimately approved by his fellow lawmakers.
Meanwhile, land-in-trust applications are also painstakingly slow. Some can take years. A search of the Federal Register Tuesday did not show any pending applications by the Osage Nation for trust land in Missouri.
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