St. Louis Public Radio News
5:13 pm
Mon November 29, 2010

Koman, Tropicana to jointly fund Chain of Rocks casino

St. Louis – A Las Vegas-based gaming company has entered a deal to help finance and operate the proposed casino at the Chain of Rocks bridge in north St. Louis.

Tropicana Entertainment, which already operates nine properties in the United States, and the Koman family, which also owns and operates the Casino Queen in Illinos, will each put up $65 million to build the 120,000 square foot casino. The two companies are still working on the joint operation agreement.

As Casino Celebration, Koman is one of three developers bidding for the state's 13th gaming license, which became available after the President Casino closed in June.

"We think this makes a strong proposal even stronger," said Casino Celebration attorney Greg Smith. "I think what it reflects is the attractiveness of this opportunity for one of the most solid and financially stable gaming companies in the country."

City officials have argued whenever possible that the license belongs in the city to replace the revenue the President provided. Monday's deal, said St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Rodney Crim, should make it obvious to gaming regulators that Casino Celebration would get built if it gets the license.

"Tropicana is a strong company, brings a lot to the party both in terms of financial resources as well as experience nationally, partnered with with our local developer who is also strong financially," he said.

The Gaming Commission could award that license at its meeting on Wednesday. An economic impact study the state released last Friday appears to give momentum to an Isle of Capri proposal in Cape Girardeau, but Crim said that study did not include some important factors.

Read the state's economic analysis here

Read the city's response to the state economic analysis