Attorney General Jay Nixon says the state gaming commission is putting the convenience of a casino company ahead of the commission’s law enforcement responsibilities. The gaming commission says it has to protect the jobs of Aztar casino workers in Caruthersville….So it’s going to run the casino until a new owner can be found, rather than let Aztar close the casino on the 19th. Nixon says the problem lies with the company that wants to buy out the Aztar corporation. He says Columbia Sussex is not licensed in Missouri. In fact, he says, Columbia Sussex has been rejected for licensure in Missouri. And Nixon says that means the commission’s chief enforcement officer, who will be operating the Casino Aztar, will be generating income for a company that cannot be licensed here. Nixon says the plan also means the gaming commission will be producing profits for that very company. And, he says, the commission is putting its top enforcement officer in a situation that seems awkward at best. He says a state employee should not be running a casino. He says “it is difficult to regulate and operate,” and says in a letter to Governor Blunt, that “Gaming Commission employees are the umpires in the state’s gaming industry–not the players or the cheerleaders.” Nixon urges Governor Blunt to withdraw his support from the commission’s actions. Nixon says there are other ways to handle the situation—such as having a court order the casino into a receivership run by an independent party until another, acceptable, buyer is found for it. Gaming commission officials were on their way to Caruthersville and not available for comment when Nixon released his letter.
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