The Missouri Gaming Commission is looking for a new chairman.
Jim Mathewson (D) announced today he’s stepping down, one month after his three-year term officially expired. He was appointed chairman by Governor Jay Nixon (D) in 2009, but chose not to serve a second term in order to spend more time with his family. During his tenure, Mathewson oversaw the bidding process for the state’s 13th casino license, which eventually went to developers in Cape Girardeau.
“I think...maybe the folks in St. Louis and the casino operator for that operation, and the one in Kansas City, might have been disappointed," Mathewson said. "But I think they couldn’t be mad at anyone, because we did it as fair as it was possible.”
Also, disassociated gamblers were provided a pathway to reinstatement during Mathewson's tenure as chairman. He says the main challenge now is raising enough revenue to help K-12 schools.
“Yes, the revenues are going down, but then I go one step further and wonder what would have happened if the casinos had not been here," Mathewson said. "They're still funding about $340 million a year, that's a lot of money, and it employs thousands of people who are paying taxes off of that employment."
Mathewson was born and raised in Warsaw, Missouri, and has spent his adult life in Sedalia. He is also a veteran lawmaker – he was elected to the Missouri House in 1974, re-elected twice, and then elected to the Missouri Senate in 1980. He then served 24 years in that chamber, including an eight-year stint as President Pro-tem.
Mathewson will officially step down on Friday. Governor Nixon has not yet announced a new chairman for the Gaming Commission.