Presiding commissioner: Cape County should be included in casino discussion

Friday, May 7, 2010
Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones. (Fred Lynch)

Though the Cape Girardeau County Commission has no official stance yet on a possible casino in Cape Girardeau, the county should be included in discussions on the issue, Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones said Thursday.

"Mostly there would be no flow of income for county government unless we're at the table up front and we agree on a certain split or something like that," Jones said. "And I have no clue what that would be. It's just we need to be at the table so we don't get blindsided."

Pat Wissman, a Democratic candidate for presiding commissioner in the upcoming election, asked during the county commission's meeting where the commission stood on the issue.

Cape Girardeau is one of several locations that has informed the Missouri Gaming Commission of its interest in obtaining a casino license. When the President Casino in St. Louis closes a license will be available July 1 for interested parties. State law limits 13 casinos to operate in Missouri at one time.

Dream Big LLC, a partnership between local businessmen David Knight and Jim Riley, St. Louis Capital Partners LLC of Alton, Ill., and Unbridled Entertainment of Mason, Ohio, have expressed an interest in obtaining a gambling license in Cape Girardeau.

Missouri Gaming Commission staff will meet with officials from interested localities and casino operators May 18. The commission meets May 27, and a deadline for completed applications could be set that day.

The Cape Girardeau City Council decided Monday that any new vote to bring gambling to the city would have to be put on the ballot with petitions by citizens required.

Jones doubts the city has even a 50 percent chance of landing the casino. He speculates the state might be more inclined to put a boat in another location that's not as close to Caruthersville, Mo., and Metropolis, Ill.

"They might be more interested in putting that boat somewhere around St. Louis even though there's already five there," Jones said. "But there's certainly a bigger draw populationwise."

He expects the state will make a decision soon on who is awarded the license.

"The state is not going to want to dally around because if they wait and wait and wait, that's just that much less revenue they collect from them," Jones said.

Dust control

The commission also opened bids on spraying a variety of materials to control dust on one mile of County Road 405 near Friedheim and 1.7 miles of County Road 387 near Crump. The companies that submitted bids were Prince Minerals of Quincy, Ill., Corrective Asphalt Materials of South Roxana, Ill., and Scotwood Industries of Overland Park, Kan.

bblackwell@semissourian.com

243-8600

Pertinent address:

1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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