The Missouri Gaming Commission has voted to revoke Pinnacle Entertainment’s gaming license for the President Casino on the Mississippi River at St. Louis. The President, which sits on the old Admiral riverboat, has – according to state gaming officials – fallen into disrepair and is underperforming.
Laying out the case for license withdrawal, Commission Executive Gene McNary told the panel the President Casino has no only fallen into disrepair but is underperforming.
“There is a pattern of deliberately putting the President Casino in decline,” said McNary during Wednesday’s meeting of the Gaming Commission. “Their performance has declined drastically over the past several years, but mostly the last two years.”
McNary added that Pinnacle is putting its efforts into attracting customers to the nearby Lumiere Place Casino at the expense of the President.
“There is not only no intention to improve the President but a deliberate policy, as expressed by their CEO and others, that they will not compete with Lumiere, which is their state of the art casino just up the road.”
Pinnacle’s Executive Director Jack Godfrey met with reporters, following the decision, insisting his company is not doing anything to hurt the President’s performance.
“We work in a challenging market and we’re doing the best we can,” said Godfrey. “There is no deliberate downgrading of operations.”
Without offering specifics Godfrey suggests something beyond Pinnacle’s performance might be at play here.
“There’s something going on here,” said Godfrey. “We’re not sure what it is.”
Is this an allegation of wrongdoing? If so, what might it be?
“I wouldn’t speculate,” said Godfrey. “I’ll let other people speculate on the premise of this. But we are puzzled as to why they are taking this action in light of the fact that we’ve been cooperating with them and responding to their requests for information about how we’re going to repair the President.”
Pinnacle has 30 days in which to respond to the Gaming Commission’s decision and to request a hearing before the panel.