Category Archives: Gaming Commission

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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The President Casino closes early due to flood waters, but key issues remain unresolved

Casino Watch Focus has reported that Pinnacle Entertainment made a deal to close the President Casino, which would leave the 13th casino license up for grabs.  The President was scheduled to close July 1, however, The St Louis Business Journal is reporting that the casino was forced to close early due to flooding:

It’s official: the President Casino aboard the Admiral riverboat along the Mississippi River has closed for good. The owner of the Laclede’s Landing casino, Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment, has planned to close the President this Tuesday after receiving pressure from gaming regulators about the property’s poor financial performance. But the casino was shut down June 17 due to floodwaters, and operators announced Thursday that they would not reopen it.

Even though the casino has closed, the Casino has still not reached an agreement with the company’s employees.  The St Louis Post Dispatch explained:

The other piece of unfinished business involves the President’s roughly 200 remaining employees. Pinnacle and the union that represents some of them are in talks about severance packages or job opportunities at the company’s other two local casinos. But no deal has been reached.

The workers are planning a rally outside the President on Monday, what they thought would be its last day. Now, they will be rallying outside a boat that is empty for good.

The other unresolved issue involves the fate of the Admiral riverboat.  The Post Dispatch continued:

Its engines have been gone since 1979 and it needed last-minute welding even to open as a casino 16 years ago. Pinnacle would have had to spend millions fixing the hull to pass an inspection due this summer.

Now, without the revenue generated by a casino operation, it is hard to envision how the boat might be preserved, said Jeff Mansell, executive director of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, which named the Admiral to its “11 Most Endangered” list this year.

“You have to look at the expense, and it’s going to be tremendous,” he said. “It’s a unique resource. With it comes unique opportunities, but also unique problems.”

Mansell said he hasn’t heard of any proposals to buy and fix up the Admiral. A spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay said City Hall hasn’t heard much either. Pinnacle, which owns the boat, said it has a few preliminary meetings set up, but doesn’t know yet what it will do. “We’re still looking into it,” said spokesman Mack Bradley. “We obviously hope to have a decision soon.”

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Missouri Gaming Commission approves 24-hr gambling

The Missouri Gaming Commission recently approved 24-hr gambling in Missouri Casinos.  The move has been made possible by the closing of The President Casino.  KPLR St Louis explains:

Many of the state’s 13 casinos already stay open 24 hours a day on weekends and holidays but close for several hours each day during the week.

That’s partly a function of the number of state enforcement agents available for each casino.
But the President Casino in St. Louis going out of business next month. Officials with the Missouri Gaming Commission say that means there will be enough agents available for transfer to other casinos to allow for the extended hours.

Clarence Greeno is the commission’s assistant deputy director of enforcement. Greeno says every casino that asked to begin 24-hour operations on July 1 will be allowed to do so.

The move has already prompted Ameristar to begin a massive expansion.  The Kansas City Star explains:

Ameristar Kansas City Casino and Hotel has announced a $14 million hotel expansion that will include 100 more rooms and a fitness center. The expansion is to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011. Ameristar extensively remodeled the hotel’s 184 rooms and lobby in mid-2006 and occupancy has been strong, the company said.

Ameristar expects that trend to continue since the Missouri Gaming Commission recently approved 24-hour gambling — scheduled to begin later this summer. The hotel addition will feature 80 deluxe rooms and 20 suites and connect into the hotel on each floor using the existing infrastructure.

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