The Cape Girardeau casino proposal would likely generate the most new net general revenue, gaming taxes and new employment compared to the other two proposals in St. Louis and the Kansas City area. That’s according to a Department of Economic Development report conducted for the Missouri Gaming Commission. But that doesn’t mean the Commission’s final decision is necessarily cut and dry.
“This DED report is one of many elements the Commission is considering when making its decision. They’ve held public hearings around the state, there’s this DED report, they’ve also had financial resource updates from our information staff. Also, from a variety of sources they’ve looked at the integrity of the applicants, the economic impact to the state, the scope and quality of the developments. Many factors go into consideration in making this decision,” said Missouri Gaming Commission spokesman LeAnn McCarthy. “One of the most important things is the support or opposition of the governing body of the home dock city or county. It’s essential they have the home dock support.”
The proposal in Cape Girardeau stacked up so well in the study partly thanks to the fact that it would be the only casino in Cape. Therefore, there wouldn’t be as much ‘cannibalization’ of business from other Missouri casinos, as there likely would be at the casinos at the other two locations.
It appears we will know next week what will happen to the state’s last casino license. It’s the second item on the agenda at the Commission’s Dec. 1st meeting.
“They anticipate there will be discussion amongst the commissioners and then a decision. It may be the decision is not decision at all. We’ll have to wait and see,” McCarthy said.
She’s alluding to the fact that Chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission James Mathewson has said they aren’t obligated to award the state’s 13th and final license, and won’t if it doesn’t seem like sound decision.
Despite the fact that the possible announcement Wednesday will be the product of months of work, it’s still just a beginning of an even longer process.
“We don’t award a license until the day the gaming casino opens to the public. So what we do is legally termed, ‘selecting a candidate for priority investigation,’ which is essentially a nod of approval to the applicant to go ahead and begin construction… Following that we’ll have a design hearing here in Jefferson City and there are other steps that we’ll go through. We’ve seen in the past anywhere from two years to a little bit longer from start to finish,” McCarthy said.