The stakes are higher because of this year’s failure of the legislature to throw out the casino loss limit.
St. Joseph Senator Charlie Shields was able to get his loss limit repeal past the first round of voting in the senate, but he had to take a killing amendment that raised taxes more than the casinos want them raised. The casinos withdrew their support from the bill. Shields never brought the bill back for a final vote.
He says it’s a tough loss because Kansas City casinos will soon face aggressive competition from a new casino just across the state line. By January he thinks the legislature will have had more chance to gauge the impact that casino will have on Missouri’s operators. He doesn’t know if the information will change anything but lawmakers will at least have a better grasp on the situation.
But the impact might become obvious well before the new Kansas casino is built because the Kansas legislature is allowing more gambling at the Woodlands dog track. Hundreds of slot machines soon will be installed at the track, which is in Kansas City, Kansas.
But Shields admits it’s going to be hard getting legislators from eastern Missouri to vote for ending loss limits. He says casinos in Illinois do not provide the kind of competition for St. Louis boats that the Kansas casino will provide on the western side.
If the legislature still refuses to kill the loss limit next year, Shields says, it won’t be the first time the state has missed the boat. He is still aggravated that Missouri refused to provide tax breaks for a NASCAR track near Kansas City International airport. The track was built in Kansas and has become the catalyst for a huge economic development area.