Missourians get a chance to tell the state gaming commission what they think about where the state’s next casino should go. Public hearings begin this week.

The Missouri Gaming Commission has it narrowed down to four possible locations for the newest casino in the state. There’s a proposal for one in Cape Girardeau, Sugar Creek, and two different proposals in St. Louis.

“The commission wants to hear public input in each of these jurisdictions. It’s very important to them to hear what the local community thinks. They know that that home dock cities and counties are in favor because they’re going to presenting their plans with the casino companies before the commission in October. This is an opportunity for all other input,” said Commission spokeswoman LeAnn McCarthy.

In addition to the information from those meetings in October, there will also be a comprehensive statewide economic analysis by the Missouri Department of Economic Development at the Commission’s disposal.

“These public hearings are one component amongst many that the Commissioners are going to take into consideration when they grant or make a decision on the 13th license. These public hearings are an opportunity for people who would normally not come before the commission to come before the commission,” McCarthy said.

The hearings are this week, and the first was already held in Cape Girardeau on Monday. McCarthy says 167 people came to that meeting.

“Mostly we heard from proponents speaking about the possibility of bringing jobs and revenue to Cape Girardeau. Then also there were the opponents who spoke about the concerns they have about gambling, in general, coming to their city,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy says the most productive feedback will be that which addresses specific aspects of each casino proposal.

“We hope to hear from those who have specific objections or specific comments toward a casino proposal,” McCarthy said.

There are two hearings scheduled in St Louis for Tuesday Sept. 28th, both at the Renaissance Airport Hotel. At 9:00am public comment will be heard on the North St. Louis County Proposal. At 10:00am that will switch to comment on the St. Louis City proposal.

The final public hearing will be held at the Mike Onka Memorial Building in Sugar Creek. That hearing also begins at 9:00am.

The casino license became available because it is being vacated by the President Casino in St. Louis, which is closing.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 MP3]