Study favors Cape Girardeau for Missouri casino license

Friday, November 26, 2010 | 12:54 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — An economic impact study for the Missouri Gaming Commission has determined that a plan to put a new casino in Cape Girardeau would be the best bet for the state.

The study released by the Gaming Commission on Friday favors Isle of Capri Corp.'s plan for a casino in the southeast Missouri town. The study by the Missouri Department of Economic Development study looked at all three proposals for Missouri's lone vacant casino license. In addition to the Cape Girardeau bid, the others are proposals for north St. Louis and at Sugar Creek, near Kansas City.

The Gaming Commission will look at the report and other factors in deciding who gets the next casino license. That decision could come at a meeting on Wednesday in Jefferson City, or the commission could decide not to issue a new license at all.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger, who has helped lead the effort to bring a casino to the town, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

The study looked at worst-case, average and best-case scenarios and was particularly focused on avoiding "cannibalization" of sales from other casinos. It found that the Casino Celebration plan in north St. Louis and the Paragon casino near Kansas City would both be more detrimental to neighboring casinos.

"In all three scenarios, Isle of Capri-Cape Girardeau generated the highest net new casino revenue and gaming taxes, new employment, and, overall Gross Domestic Product," the study found. Casino Celebration was second in all three scenarios.

Both St. Louis and Kansas City are home to several casinos. Cape Girardeau is about 100 miles south of St. Louis. The only other casino within a close drive is in the small town of Caruthersville in the Missouri Bootheel, about 85 miles south of Cape Girardeau.

"All of the applicants have submitted proposals for medium-sized facilities, but only Isle of Capri is far enough from existing Missouri casinos to minimize cannibalization," the report found.

Isle of Capri, based in suburban St. Louis, is proposing a $125 million casino along the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau.

The license became available this summer when the President Casino in St. Louis went out of business. Missouri law caps the number of casino licenses at 13.

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Yves Montclear November 26, 2010 | 4:58 p.m.

It is a sad 'state' of affairs, when the only growth industry in the state anymore seems to be casino gambling.

It destroys lives, families, I personally can attest to that myself.

How many articles do you have to see, from all over the United States, about people stealing from the company they work for because they have a gambling problem now?

But the really sad thing, is you don't get to see the small tragedies, small lives destroyed. Gambling, when out of control, is an unbelievable disgusting downward trip.

If you don't know a compulsive gambler you have no idea. But I do, I'm married to one. She is my wife.

Get used to getting lied to all the time, about where they are going. They will tell you they are going to the store, help out some retired veterans at the hospital, or anything else, but no, they are going to the casino. Straight, bald faced lying right to your face, over and over. Be prepared for that.

And your credit being maxed to...the breaking point. The casino will be happy to keep giving them credit, as long as you still have some assets. As a spouse, you don't even have to be involved. The credit card companies will be more than happy to advance them large sums of money at thirty percent interest, too.

And then when that all falls down, the gambler starts selling things from the home to pawn for a few dollars, and even hocking their wedding ring, just for a few more bucks. Just for a couple days...until they get a hot streak, and get the money to buy it back.

Because they know they are going to hit the big one, soon, on the next pull of the slot, on the next toss of the dice, or the next turn of a card.

I promise you, I have seen first hand what a sickness this can become. And how the casino cares none at all about stopping it.

It destroys lives, not just the gambler's, but all the lives around them.

Casino gambling is a business\sickness no real community needs.

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