St. Louis Public Radio News
12:30 am
Tue February 23, 2010

Mo. House committee considers casino license bill

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers conducted a hearing Monday evening on legislation that would bar the State Gaming Commission from revoking the license of a casino for underperforming financially.

The bill was filed in reaction to the Gaming Commission's decision to revoke the license of the President Casino in downtown St. Louis.

Among those testifying in favor of the bill was Mack Bradley of Pinnacle Entertainment, the company that owns the President Casino and the vessel where it's housed, the Admiral Riverboat.

"In our view, every licensee in the state is at risk if this bill fails to pass...we think it's a serious matter for Missouri's ability to create a stable business environment and to attract outside investment," Bradley told the House Special Standing Committee on Urban Issues.

Jim McNichols is a lobbyist who appeared before the committee on behalf of the Missouri Gaming Commission.

"Stripping (the commission's) power to impose penalties, suspension or revocation for inadequate declining performance would neuter the commission and in effect negate our ability to regulate Missouri's gaming industry," McNichols said, reading a quote from Executive Director Gene McNary.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told the committee that closing the President Casino would cost the city much-needed jobs and revenue.

A vote on the bill is expected at a later date.