A meeting of the Missouri Gaming Commission to consider the future of Pinnacle Entertainment’s gaming license for the President Casino in St. Louis ends with no decision having been made.
According to Commission Chairman Jim Mathewson a decision will be made in a "reasonable period of time." Though Mathewson would not venture to suggest how short or long a period of time a "reasonable period of time" might be.
At issue is the historic Admiral, the boat which serves as home to the President. Federal inspectors might force the boat to close in July of next year and Pinnacle wants to be able to replace the Admiral with a new barge. That could be problematic because a legal opinion from Attorney General Chris Koster claims a license is boat specific and site specific, meaning a new license would be required to either replace an existing boat or to change the location of that boat.
Mathewson concedes it is only an opinion – but an important one.
"That Attorney General’s opinion doesn’t hold great weight in a court of law," said Mathewson while talking to reporters after the meeting. "But what it does is points you in a direction where your comfort level sure goes up."
The Commission’s general counsel suggests Pinnacle is not able to deal with the current situation without halting operations for a period of time – costing the state revenue – and he recommends the license be put up for grabs. Mathewson says that while he appreciates the advice, the panel will make the final decision.
"We’ll make the decision," said Mathewson. "And we’ll base it on the best information that we can glean."
While the opinion of the Gaming Commission’s general counsel will be taken into account, so will the fact Pinnacle has been a good corporate citizen.
"From what staff tells me," said Mathewson. "They have been a good group of people to deal with. That’s not even under question." Options for the Commission include allowing interested parties to bid on Pinnacle’s license.