Rockaway casino vote

Monday, June 28, 2004

The Joplin (Mo.) Globe

Perhaps not so surprisingly, Cole County Judge Richard Callahan has dismissed a lawsuit that attempted to block a statewide vote Aug. 3 on casino gambling in the Ozarks community of Rockaway Beach.

The decision on whether a glitzy casino should be built and operated on the White River belong with the people, not the courts. ...

Residents of Rockaway Beach are confident that a casino would create new jobs and restore prosperity to the once-thriving community.

They envision tens of thousands of gamblers from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas beating a path to the door of the casino to try their hand at games of chance and skill. ...

Opponents will run the gamut from those who object to gambling in any form to those involved in the riverboat enterprises along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers who aren't eager to share the lucrative gaming pie.

The biggest objection, though, will come from the Branson business community, which has worked hard to project and protect its family oriented entertainment image.

Missourians have been receptive to gambling issues in the past.

But the Rockaway Beach plan may be so site specific -- one community on the White River -- and Branson's fears of diluting its position as a tourist destination so compelling that this gambling question may not resonate well with voters.

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