A question regarding where casinos can be placed could be on the ballot this fall. But, even if the constitutional change passes, a bill in the House could put out one more hurdle communities would have to clear before the gambling could start. This November, Missourians will decide whether or not there should be casinos aside from the ones allowed on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Representative Dennis Wood, who represents part of southwest Missouri including Branson, offers a bill that would require counties to approve any casinos that would not be on the two rivers. Wood finds most of the support in Branson, which has decided gambling could hurt tourism by bringing in crime. Chuck Walters from Rockaway Beach, a community of about 500 people near Branson looking to put in a casino, says it’s not fair to say gambling brings in crime, and he uses numbers from Branson to prove his point.Walters says population affects crime rates, a problem any economic development might have. Proponents of the bill get the lion’s share of the committee’s time, but the chairman invites the opposition back next week.
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