The location of Missouri’s next casino is considered a “once in a lifetime” process by the head of the state gaming commission.

Commission chairman Jim Mathewson says he’s told the staff he wants a license for a new casino issued by the end of the year. Fifteen communities, companies, and individuals have told the commission they’re interested in competing for the only license likely to come open for years.

Mathewson says the staff will meet with those who wrote the letters in a couple of weeks to gauge their interest and ability to back up that interest.

The state constitution limits the number of casinos. This license is available because the President casino on the St.Louis riverfront will close in less than two months. It’s owned by the same people who own a more glamorous Lumiere Place.

Mathewson plans public hearings in every city that applies for a casino. The commission will set a timetable for the process later, but not much later because it takes time for hearings, investigations, market studies and other considerations. And after that, construction will probably take the best part of two more years.

Bob Priddy & Bob Watson interview Mathewson