Category Archives: Gaming Commission

Miami Casino Plans that Were Halted Look for Life in Lawsuit Against the City

Casino Watch Focus has reported on past efforts of Magic City Casino to built gambling facilities in Miami. Most efforts, including the many attempts by Genting grouphave been shut down, and this was no different. In this case, Magic City Casino was looking to open a jai alai fronton and poker room in the Edgewater neighborhood, however, zoning law changes stopped the project and expansion of gambling in Miami. Now, West Flagler Associates, the parent company to Magic City Casino is suing the city for not only the lost money that was invested in the project, but the right to continue with the original gambling expansion plan. An online source reports:

A court has given West Flagler Associates, Ltd., owner of Miami’s Magic City Casino, the go-ahead to proceed with its lawsuit against the city of Miami. West Flagler sued the city in April of this year for $750,000 after the city’s commission altered the zoning code for gambling venues. The date for the proceedings was set for May 2020.

The lawsuit is the result of a zoning law change approved in September 2018 by the city’s commissioners. In a 4-1 vote, the commissioners passed a new rule that would require four of the five commissioners to approve any new gambling locations.

West Flagler is seeking upwards of $750,000 plus the right to build its gaming establishment. The company argues that it announced its plans when the zoning rules allowed for pari-mutuel betting in the area and had been given written approval by the city. The rules were still in place when West Flagler received its permit.

The primary reason for the zoning adjustments was to limit gambling in the city. It was clear those in the community didn’t want to see the expansion in their neighborhood, and they city commissioners agreed. The source continues:

Commissioner Ken Russell said that he had heard from many local residents who opposed a gaming establishment in or near their neighborhood.“We don’t need gambling in the city of Miami,” auto magnate Norman Braman told the Herald “We’re doing very well without it. Gambling is a parasite, and this is an invasion.”

“As a resident of that neighborhood, I don’t believe it’s a bad thing for the neighborhood,” Havenick countered. “This will be a good attraction. It is not going to be anything more than poker and jai-alai. We’ve said that all along. It is not a casino. It’s simply poker in an area that has many other forms of entertainment, and this is another form of that.”

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


EA Tries to label Gambling-esques Loot Boxes as ‘Surprise Mechanics’ During UK Parliamentary Investigation

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing studies and investigations into the latest predatory gaming mechanics known as loot boxes. These are digital boxes that can be purchase with real money in video games and they contain random loot that can be used in game. In some cases these are vary rare items that have value in game. Most of the time, however, they are essentially useless items and kids or other gamers are encouraged to buy another box to get the good prize. It’s effectively a slot machine, along with all the psychological bells and whistles designed to get the player to keep paying to open more boxes.

In some cases, these items have enough value that they can be cashed out or soldmaking them exactly like a slot machine. As a result, they have been investigated and studied vigorously over the past year or so and even when some conclude they aren’t outright gambling, almost all conclude they are predatory, addictive, aimed at exploiting children and some have concluded that they lead to problem gambling & gambling addiction.  

Most recently, the UK Parliament’s Digital Culture, Media, and Sports Committee conducted an investigation and they heavily questioned EA, the company most famously known for its loot box controversies involving key games like Star Wars Battlefield II and FIFA. During the testimony, they attempted to rebrand loot boxes and tried to compare this highly sophisticated and psychologically trapping mechanic to surprise toys, like Kinder Eggs, that you can buy in the store. Screen Rate explains:

Kerry Hopkins, EA’s VP of legal and government affairs, went on record during an oral evidence session with the UK Parliament’s Digital Culture, Media, and Sport Committee as saying that the company doesn’t view its microtransactions as loot boxes, but rather as “surprise mechanics.”

It’s a frankly shocking and blatant disregard of much of the research that has gone into the problem of loot boxes, with Hopkins also likening EA’s loot boxes to “Kinder Eggs, or Hatchimals.” The difference? The latter two haven’t been correlated with gambling addiction in research studies, whereas loot boxes have, even if many more studies need to be done to conclusively link the two. EA’s attempted rebranding of loot boxes in the face of anti-loot box stances in the Netherlands, Belgium, and now in the United States is a clear appeal to keep the practice in place in the face of growing hostility.

With EA, it can be hard to separate the fact from fiction, but in this instance, it’s not difficult at all: loot boxes are loot boxes, not “surprise mechanics.” That the publisher is even attempting to assert they’re anything but what they are is an insult to consumer intelligence everywhere, and shows a blatant disregard for ethical concerns, instead prioritizing money.

This level of false equivocation is beyond concerning. EA pushed back against the Belgian Gaming Commission when it concluded their FIFA loot box cards clearly constituted unregulated gambling. Ultimately, they did remove them from the game in that specific country, but they really don’t see a difference in their gambling mechanic and Hatchimals. Video Game YouTuber YongYea, in a rather spirited, yet extraordinarily well reasoned video, properly outlines why this a dangerous false equivocation:

The only similarity between loot boxes and Kinder Eggs is that both involve opening some kind of container to reveal a random reward. But video game loot boxes go layers deeper than that. First of all, unlike Kinder Eggs, video games usually charge an entry fee, normally $60 for the standard edition. With Kinder Eggs there is no entry fee. You buy one or a couple, you get whatever toy inside and that’s that.

Most of the rewards you get out of loot boxes will be completely useless, with a small chance of getting something truly coveted, and that is by design. [B]ecause loot boxes are digital in nature, its parameters can be controlled and adjusted to the developer’s and publisher’s whim at their convenience. We often see games that tweak the odds post-launch, that introduce new roadblocks, add new coveted items that are easier to get or new modes that are easier to overcome by paying, rather than playing.

Then there is also the fact that with Kinder Eggs, opening a container for the little toy inside [is] pretty much the whole game. There’s not much else to it than that. The entire purpose of Kinder Eggs is to get that toy and maybe collect them. In-game loot boxes, on the other hand, act as this sub system that holds a lot of influence over the game itself. Loot boxes often tend to be implemented in such a way that you pretty much have to buy them in order to access the best possible experience for the game you purchased or downloaded. They essentially act as slot machine tollbooths for the product you already bought. Games will often implement intentional issues and roadblocks so that you will have to pay to mitigate them through the purchase of these randomized rewards.

I should also point out that when you open a Kinder Egg, there are no flashy animations or sound effects that are strictly designed to release these chemicals in your brain that give you that addictive sense of anticipation. With loot boxes, on the other hand, every time you open one you’re presented with this spectacle that is not too dissimilar to what you’ll find in casinos, slot machines specifically. That’s because slot machines and loot boxes are designed with the same purpose in mind, to keep those who are psychologically susceptible to gambling addiction and addictive tendencies coming back so they can be milked dry. This is regardless of their mental or financial health. That’s not a priority for these casinos and companies like EA.

Casinos at least have some kind of system where they keep kids away and what have you. The gaming industry, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to [care] about kids whose minds are still developing, who are more susceptible to addiction than adults are. The gaming industry certainly doesn’t care about susceptible adults or implementing monetization schemes responsibly.

The gaming industry cannot even uphold something as simple as an age restriction. As per the ESRB, on their website you can see that any game with real-life gambling must be considered an adult’s only game. Of course, this classification will prevent that game from being sold on most major platforms. But because loot boxes make them so much money, they’re trying to pretend like loot boxes aren’t gambling. That’s how they get around this and now companies like EA are going as far claiming loot boxes aren’t even loot boxes, but rather surprise mechanics. No EA, Kinder Eggs and loot boxes don’t come anywhere close to being the same thing. That’s like saying getting shot with a BB gun is pretty much the same as getting shot with sniper riffle because both involve pulling a trigger that ejects a projectile. This is false equivocation at its finest and this is a classic move from EA and other major publishers.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

 


YouTube Creators Under Fire for Underage Gambling Promotion by Sponsoring Loot Boxes

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing developments over a video game type mechanic known as loot boxes. Player, often children, spend money to gamble at receiving a mystery item from a box. This loot can sometimes be traded or sold for cash. Over 16 countries have either regulated it or called for studies. Most recently the FTC. In England, the House of Commons called loot boxes massive and addictive technology. The use has been primarily seen in video games but the idea has spread to YouTube. Both American and UK YouTubers are under fire for offering the ability for their viewers, mostly. The UK’s Telegraph explains: 

Popular YouTubers have come under fire for promoting controversial games linked to gambling to young viewers. Jake Paul and Brian “RiceGum” Lee, who have 28.5 million subscribers between them, were among those criticised for posting sponsored videos showing them spending money on “loot boxes”.

Loot boxes, which appear in video games, prompt players to spend money in exchange for random in-game purchases. In new promotional videos, both Jake Paul and Brian “RiceGum” Lee clicked on online mystery treasure chests and revealed they had won real life objects including Apple AirPods and trainers worth $1,000.

MysteryBrand, the company behind the promotional videos, offers a real-life version of these boxes that can cost between $3.99 (£3.16) and $1,300 (£1,028) apiece. Each box contains a range of possible pre-selected items but a user has no idea what they will get until they have paid.

MysteryBrand is understood to have paid $100,000 for the videos, which were lambasted by the duo’s viewers as well as YouTubers Ethan Klein, Kavos and PewDiePie.

Given the size of some to these content creators YouTube channels, its somewhat surprising that they wouldn’t vet the loot box concept. Unfortunately, they didn’t with one even saying he didn’t think it’s a big deal at all. YouTube released a statement and pulled at least one of the videos and regulators have called this out as gambling. An online source reports:

YouTube has already pulled Hudson’s promotion from view, with a spokesperson saying: “YouTube believes that creators should be transparent with their audiences if their content includes paid promotion of any kind. Our policies make it clear that YouTube creators are responsible for ensuring their content complies with local laws, regulations and YouTube community guidelines. If content is found to violate these policies, we take action to ensure the integrity of our platform, which can include removing content.”

The activities of MysteryBrand are still being assessed by the Gambling Commission but the children’s commissioner for England has already come out against the service, telling the paper that this amounted to ‘gambling, plain and simple’.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Florida House Democrats to Block Deal with Seminoles

Casino Watch Focus reported that this year’s Florida Legislative session was moving at its typical quick pace and the House had already passed a gambling bill to create a new gambling commission a Gov. Rick Scott asked the Senate to hold off passing similar measures until he had a chance to finalize a gambling compact with the Siminole Tribe. The State’s compact with the Siminoles will have a big impact on the direction or financial impact of gambling in Florida.  Now Florida Democrats have said they will block any new compact that doesn’t conform with their specific gambling demands.  An online source is reporting the demands:

House Democrats say they will kill a new gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe unless it includes more games for South Florida pari-mutuels.

Without the support of the Democratic caucus’ 44 members, the chamber won’t be able to ratify an agreement, House Select Committee on Gaming Chairman Rob Schenck acknowledged.

“The fate of the compact is in serious jeopardy if we do not have some bipartisan support. It?s a basic principle of math,” Schenck, R-Spring Hill, said.

Schenck’s arithmetic lesson is grounded in history. The House has historically balked at expansions of gambling and, as in the past, now includes more than a dozen conservative Republicans who will vote against any gambling-related legislation. That makes putting together a bipartisan coalition critical to get to the 61 votes needed for ratification.

If Gov Scott acquiesces to their demands, it builds in even more expanding gambling worries for Florida’s families.  If, however, Gov Scott doesn’t and the Democrats don’t ratify the new treaty, its possible no gambling bills will get through this session.  The online source explains:

The elements of any deal hinge on the tribe’s exclusive rights to have certain games, even if only in certain geographic areas, and revenue paid to the state. Federal law requires any revenue-sharing agreement with the state to include something of value for the tribe, and the feds have to sign off on any compact struck between Florida and the Seminoles.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is insisting that his chamber won’t authorize any legislation unless Scott finalizes a deal with the Seminoles.

Jim Shore, the Seminoles’ general counsel, wrote in an op-ed published in the Sun Sentinel newspaper earlier this month that the state should reject destination resort casinos included in a Senate gambling proposal and instead stick to its agreement with the tribe.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


States Outsource Casino Policing to Private Firms

##For Immediate Release Feb 22 2014

NoCasinos.org

LAS VEGAS — When Springfield, Mass. needed to choose who would build its first casino, the city hired an outside adviser to help with the process.

The consulting firm Shefsky & Froelich recommended that the deal go to MGM Resorts International. At the same time, the consulting firm was also working as a registered lobbyist in Illinois for MGM Resorts.

The arrangement highlights an often-overlooked trend as more cities and states embrace legalized gambling around the country: Private companies are being hired to write regulations and vet casinos, even as the same firms work the other side of the fence, helping casinos enter new markets and sometimes lobbying for their interests.

States hoping to make money quickly from legalizing gambling have few options as speedy as outside contractors, which allow them to get casinos up and running without having to hire and train a cadre of staff regulators.

But letting consulting companies with deep ties to the gambling industry decide how casinos are run — and who runs them — is a significant departure from how more established gambling states, including Nevada and New Jersey, do things.

Regulators in states that maintain control over their own rules say the move toward privatization is unnerving.

“How do you vet your consultants? If a lot of these consultants at one time or another have worked for the people that you’re in charge of regulating, at some point, you’re going to have issues with the purity of the investigation,” said Illinois Gaming Board spokesman Gene O’Shea.

Casino opponents are skeptical. John Sowinski, spokesman for the Florida nonprofit No Casinos, says that Spectrum often paints an overly rosy picture of the boon casinos might provide, overshooting tax revenue estimates in studies conducted for Ohio, and calling New Jersey’s Revel project “just the tonic that Atlantic City needs.” (The state-subsidized casino filed for bankruptcy 10 months after opening.)

Sowinski believes states in need of consultants should hire experts and firms with no connection to the casino industry.

“The gambling industry is the one industry that seems to get away with this conflict of interest carte blanche,” he said.

For the Complete Article CLICK HERE

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Missouri Gaming Commission chooses Cape Girardeau for the 13th Casino

Casino Watch Focus reported that the citizens in Cape Girardeau voted to allow a new casino.  It was reported at that time that the Missouri Gaming Commission would likely approve the proposal, even though there were clear reasons reported why the MGC should not give the 13th casino license to any company or city.  Now the St Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that the MGC decided to award The Isle of Capri the 13th license in Cape Girardeau:

The Missouri Gaming Commission voted unanimously and without discussion to choose Cape Girardeau over proposals for St. Louis and for Sugar Creek, which is near Kansas City. A casino license became available this summer when the President Casino in downtown St. Louis went out of business. Missouri law since 2008 has capped the number of casino licenses at 13.

The commission’s decision Wednesday clears the way for a casino in Cape Girardeau, but a license is not awarded until a facility is ready to open. This is the first time regulators have mulled a new casino since the limit on casino licenses was enacted.

Opponents of that ballot measure expressed disappointment with the commission’s decision Wednesday. “My heart is absolutely broken. I cried this morning, but that’s over,” said Doug Austin, who lives in Cape Girardeau and helped to organize opposition to the casino.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Why the MGC should not award a new casino license during its Dec 1 meeting

The Kansas City Star reported that the Missouri Gaming Commission met last week in a closed doors session to review the financial information regarding each proposal.  The next regular meeting takes place Dec 1st, and its possible the MGC will make their decision during that time.  However, as reported by Casino Watch Focus, the MGC said they might not award a casino license at all, explaining that the law only sets the cap on licenses at 13, but requires no minimum number. Casino Watch Focus has outlined many reasons why a new casino would represent great danger to Missouri families, but an op-ed piece published in the South East Missourian explains that a new casino represents terrible consequences for those living in the region:

Public officials are often jubilant over the idea of casinos sapping every dollar they can from those same citizens whose welfare they are committed to protect. We saw it recently upon the license approval of the new “River City Casino” in St. Louis.  It was anticipated to produce $200 million a year … more than $500,000 a day … in gambling losses of the people to River City. Public official and the casino people — in an apparent “de facto” partnership celebrated together!

For years we have known from experience and from studies (such as in the St. Louis Law Journal, Winter, 1995, by Professor John Warren Kindt of the University of Illinois) that when gambling options increase in a region, so do the related problems: more compulsive gamblers, more crime, more thoughts of suicides by the inevitable numbers of area people who become addicted (with some actually committing suicides), more embezzlements, more corruption of public officials…  I could go on.

 

Adding a new casino in Cape Girardeau will expose an unimaginable amount of new families to gambling’s dangers.   Please read the entire article here and for more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Cape Girardeau votes yes to allowing a new casino

Casino Watch Focus reported that the election in Cape Girardeau was being almost exclusively bought and paid for by Isle of Capri Casino.  So, its no surprise that when the SE Missourian reported the casino election results, they showed a clear win for the casino and potential loss for the families in southeast Missouri.  The vote was necessary but insufficient to guarantee a casino in Cape.  The Missouri Gaming Commission must still award the proposal to the Isle of Capri.  Considering the MGC has been positioning itself to accept a Cape proposal and has even gone as far to say they might not award a license at all if they didn’t find the location that would make the state a considerable amount of money, it’s very unlikely the Commission would reject a Cape casino.  Keep checking back to find out the fate of the state and our families.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


isle of capri attempts to buy the cape girardeau election by almost single handedly funding the pro-casino campaign

Casino Watch Focus reported that the Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC) will only consider three proposals for Missouri’s final casino license – one in Kansas City, one in St Louis, and one in Cape Girardeau should the vote to allow the casino pass.  It was also explained that the MGC favors the Cape location and they were positioning themselves to not give out the final license allowed by Missouri law should the vote in Cape not pass.  It’s clear that the battle for gambling expansion comes down to the this vote and its fair to say that the Isle of Capri casino agrees.  The South East Missourian reported they gave a sizable campaign contribution to the Yes for Gaming group in Cape:

Isle of Capri is gambling with house money, pouring $50,000 into the campaign coffers of the committee trying to convince Cape Girardeau voters to approve a $120 million casino in the Nov. 2 election.

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. donated $50,000 to the campaign committee Yes for Gaming, according to a quarterly campaign report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The only other donation to the committee was $4,000 from Jim Riley and David Knight’s Dream Big LLC. Riley and Knight are the Cape Girardeau businessmen who own property where the casino is proposed for North Main Street.

The Quality of Life group, which opposes the casino, has only received $5,000 in donations.  The SE Missouri explains that the group is not surprised by the amount given by Isle of Capri, but hopes their grass roots movement will be effected against this clear attempt at buying the election:

Doug Austin, who heads the opposition group, said he was not shocked about the amount that Isle of Capri donated. But he said it looks as if the company is trying to buy the election.

“It reeks to the high heavens,” Austin said. “Our money is coming from the citizens of Cape Girardeau, not the gambling industry. Fifty thousand dollars boggles my mind. It shows what kind of money they have available with money that they got from people losing in their casinos.”

Melvin Gateley, the treasurer for Quality of Life, said his organization is at a huge disadvantage when it comes to buying advertising, yard signs and fliers.

“I’m sorry to see it, but I knew it was coming,” Gateley said. “But we’re just going to be ourselves and keep doing our grassroots work and let people know what we think a casino would do to this community.”

Those in the community continue to speak out against the casino.  The newspaper is one of those grassroots means that the opposition has used to send its message.  In an editorial titled “Casino vote will have severe implications” published by the SE Missourian, Mark Anderson outlines many key issues ranging from family issues to business issues.  Please take some time to read the entire article here and if you are in the Cape Girardeau community, please seek out the Quality for Life group to help the grass roots movement and take a stand against yet another casino looking to buy an election.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


And Then There Were Three

Casino Watch Focus reported that four companies remained in the hunt for Missouri’s 13th casino license and that the Missouri Gaming Commission was holding a meeting to hear a more in-depth proposal from each candidate.  Now the St Louis Business Journal is reporting that one of the four companies has now been eliminated from consideration following the meeting:

Missouri Gaming Commission Chairman Jim Mathewson told reporters that North County Development LLC was knocked out after not participating in Wednesday’s public hearings in Jefferson City.

Ed Griesedieck, a Herzog Crebs attorney who represents North County Development, said the group needed more time to raise money for the Riverview Casino project. He had sent a letter to the commission saying that, given the size and complexity of the proposal, significant additional funding and sophisticated operating and funding partnerships would be required. If the extension isn’t granted, “we will regretfully need to withdraw” at this time, he wrote.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Missouri Gaming Commission to hear casino plans Oct 20th and decide by Thanksgiving

Casino Watch Focus has reported that the Missouri Gaming Commission favors Cape Girardeau as the next location for a new casino.  The Missouri Gaming Commission not only considers the location, but also the specific casino plan for those areas.  The South East Missourian is reporting that the Gaming Commission will meet soon and plan to decide by Thanksgiving:

Isle of Capri and city officials will try to convince the Missouri Gaming Commission that Cape Girardeau is the best choice for the state’s newest casino Oct. 20 at a hearing in Jefferson City.

After that, a decision between the four applicants — three if Cape Girardeau voters say no at the ballot box Nov. 2 — should come by Thanksgiving, said commission chairman Jim Mathewson.

The five-member commission will hear proposals from representatives of all four proposed casinos beginning at 9 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Jefferson City. Mathewson said each presentation will last up to one hour. The order of the presentations will be determined by lottery, he said.

The Gaming Commission has said they will be looking for companies that are financially strong and will remain so for years to come.  They will also be factoring the state’s Department of Economic Development economic impact analysis which should be completed by the end of the month. Those against the casino in Cape hope it never gets that far.  The South East Missourian continues:

“I understand their process,” [Doug Austin, who is leading the opposition to a casino with his campaign committee Quality of Life in Cape Girardeau] said. “They’re gathering all their facts and data. But I’m hoping it never gets that far. Obviously, I’m against casinos, whatever facts and figures they present.” The group, Austin said, plans to put yard signs up in the next week, as well as launch anti-casino campaign ads on radio and newspapers.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Missouri Gaming Commission may not award the 13th Casino License

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.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


After September deadline, the Missouri Gaming Commission has five projects to consider for final casino license

The Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC) set a September 1st deadline for applications for Missouri’s 13th casino license.  Casino Watch Focus has reported that Cape Girardeau is the front runner, but with the issue up for vote in Cape, one of four other projects could be selected by the MGC.  The St Louis Post Dispatch has summarized those applicants being considered:

• Casino Celebration, a group led by the Koman family, which wants to build a $115 million casino in north St. Louis, just south of the Chain of Rocks Bridge. It has the support of the city of St. Louis, and last week struck a deal with Great Rivers Greenway. Jim Koman also co-owns the Casino Queen in East St. Louis.

• North County Development LLC, which has proposed a $350 casino and hotel complex in Spanish Lake in north St. Louis County. It could be the biggest casino on the table, but it has drawn strong opposition from local environmentalists. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has said he opposes the plan, which could be a major hurdle.

• Isle of Capri Corp., which would put a $125 million casino in downtown Cape Girardeau. The Creve Coeur-based company appears to be the largest casino operator applying in Missouri. Cape’s city council voted to endorse the plan last week, but city voters will decide in November if they want to allow a casino in the city. A no vote would likely doom the plan.

• Epic Gaming LLC, which is proposing a casino in Sugar Creek, east of Kansas City. Epic is a Las Vegas-based group of experienced casino executives, but no details of their plan in Sugar Creek have yet been made public.

• Sunway Gaming LLC, which is also proposing a Sugar Creek casino. The Kansas City-based group has worked on Indian casino projects around the country and earlier this year applied to build a casino in Iowa, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. No information was available on their Sugar Creek proposal.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


UPDATE: St Louis down to one proposal to replace the President Casino

Casino Watch Focus has reported that the Missouri Gaming Commission is accepting bids to replace the now closed President Casino.  The Chain of Rocks area in North St Louis is one of several potential areas the Gaming Commission is considering to locate the state’s 13th casino.  The St Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that the number of interested companies in North St Louis has been drastically reduced:

In a letter to city officials and the Missouri Gaming Commission, the California-based LLC said it’s withdrawing its proposal to build $284 million casino and commercial complex just north of the Chain of Rocks Bridge in north St. Louis. No reason was given.

That leaves Casino Celebration, a proposal by members of the Koman family, as the only casino proposal on the table in the City of St. Louis. They laid out plans for a $115 million, 120,000 square foot casino on land just south of the Chain of Rocks.

In its letter, Plain Joe endorsed Koman’s plan. The group is still exploring a “mixed-use, destination-type development” (maybe a recreational harbor or water park) on the 70-acre site north of the bridge known as Pier St. Louis. And, they said, a casino down the street might help.

The City has a meeting planned in the upcoming days to determine if they will endorse the Koman bid.  An endorsement would be perceived positively by the Gaming Commission, which might help them accept the bid and keep gambling confined to a market already exposed to and saturated by a gambling culture. 

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Missouri Gaming Commission waiting for Cape Girardeau casino vote to award the 13th gambling license

Casino Watch Focus explained that with the closing of the President Casino in St Louis, Missouri families have found themselves in a situation where a new mega casino can be built anywhere along the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers.  Cape Girardeau is one of the most talked about locations for a new casino.  However, the city has a long standing vote on record which prevents the development of a casino in the area.  The Southeast Missourian reported that the Quality for Life group believes they have acquired enough petition signatures to put the issue to a new vote.

It was originally reported that the Missouri Gaming Commission would make a decision by September, thus eliminating the possibility of the new license being granted in Cape.  However, the Commission later stated that they would push the decision back to the end of the year.  It was believed at the time that the Commission didn’t want to close the door on Cape and new sources are confirming this speculation:

It appears likely that the Missouri Gaming Commission will not select a community to develop Missouri’s 13th casino until after Cape Girardeau voters render a verdict on gambling locally.

But exactly when the gaming commission will select an applicant to construct the state’s next casino is uncertain. The commission has only one scheduled meeting after Nov. 2, on Dec. 1, and at Cape Girardeau’s City Council special meeting on casino proposals last week, representatives of one applicant suggested that the selection won’t be made until 2011.

The Spokeswoman for the Gaming Commission said they are still planning to have a decision by the end of the year.  It seems like the fate of families in Cape Girardeau and the surrounding southeast will come down to authentication of the petition signatures and the vote that is likely to proceed. 

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION