State regulators may force President Casino to close

St. Louis – State gaming regulators will vote on Wednesday whether to force Pinnacle Entertainment to shutter the struggling President Casino in downtown St. Louis.

Missouri Gaming Commission executive director Gene McNary sent a letter to Pinnacle's interim CEO John Giovenco last Wednesday, saying regulators believe the company is keeping the President open merely to hang onto the license without improving performance. The staff will recommend at the Commission meeting on Wednesday that the President be shuttered in July.

Earnings at the President have slumped dramatically since Lumiere Place, another Pinnacle property, opened in December 2007, and the entrance to the casino, on the historic Admiral riverboat, is often blocked by flooding. The Admiral is also widely expected to fail a required Coast Guard hull inspection in July, and the Commission ruled last year that Pinnacle could not replace the President with another facility without losing the license. Pinnacle appealed that ruling, and amended the case today to include efforts to block the latest closure attempt.

Pinnacle's third property in the region, the River City Casino in south St. Louis County, is scheduled to open in early March.