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Pinnacle Gets OK For Two St. Louis Area Casinos

A rendering of Pinnacle's proposed South St. Louis County casino.

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis –

Pinnacle Entertainment is another step closer to opening two new casinos in the St. Louis area.

The Missouri Gaming Commission Wednesday approved the company's plans for new facilities downtown and the South St. Louis County community of Lemay.

The state has to investigate Pinnacle further before the company can get a license.

But gaming commission director Kevin Mullally says Pinnacle could start construction if it wants to.

"The company commits capital to the project at their own risk," Mullally said. "In the past, most of the casinos, after they are selected have been confident that they can withstand the scrutiny of the investigation, and have gone ahead and begun construction."

Pinnacle beat out proposals from Harrah's and Isle of Capri.

But gaming opponents say the commission only looked at economic benefits, not social costs. Mark Andrews is with the group Casino Watch.

"Gambling across America has become the easy fix," Andrews said. "It's become the easy way to raise money. However, more and more governments are realizing that it is very bad government policy to gain money at the expense of your own citizens."

Pinnacle hopes to open the downtown casino in two years. The Lemay facility would take three years to build because the site, where a paint pigment factory operated, is still contaminated.


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