The Missouri Secretary of State’s office is working to verify signatures for several ballot measures, including one that would authorize a casino at the Lake of the Ozarks.

If added to the November ballot and passed by voters, the measure would allow the Missouri Gaming Commission to issue an additional license for a casino, which would be built on the Osage River near Bagnell Dam. Current law limits the number of casino licenses to 13 and can only be issued to those along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The amendment would add a 14th casino license and allow casinos on the Osage River.

John Hancock is spokesman for the Osage River Gaming and Convention Committee, the group backing the proposed constitutional amendment.

“Well, you’re talking about a year-round attraction, which is something that the Lake community has needed for a very long time,” he told Missourinet. “It’s going to be just a gem of a facility. Bally’s Entertainment, who is our partner in this, has a long history of building really phenomenal facilities.”

The proposed casino would also have a convention center and would be located just off U.S. Highway 54 near the resort town of Lake Ozark.

“Unlike many places in the state, the Lake of the Ozarks is familiar to everybody,” Hancock said. “I think everybody will appreciate that a year-round entertainment area is going to be just a tremendous enhancement to that whole experience that is the Lake of the Ozarks.”

If it’s added to the November ballot and passed by voters, the casino would be built on the Osage River near Bagnell Dam. All tax revenues generated by the casino would go towards early childhood literacy programs in Missouri’s public schools.

The Osage River Gaming and Convention Committee estimates that about $14.3 million in state revenues would be generated each year, and 100% of it would be used to fund early childhood education.

“When you look at dropout rates and crime rates in school districts, a lot of education experts point to the lack of early childhood development,” Hancock said. “So we believe that this facility and the revenues it generates are gonna have a really positive effect on the entire state.”

He also said it would generate between $2- and $3 million locally through admission fees.

Osage Nation, a Native American tribe based in Oklahoma, opposes the plan because it’s also trying to build a casino at the Lake of the Ozarks.

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