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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A recent decline in Missouri's casino revenues is raising questions among lawmakers about the extent to which the state can continue to rely on gambling to fund key programs.

Attendance at Missouri's 13 casinos is down almost 9 percent from last year.

Missouri relies on two sources of casino revenues. A portion of a per-patron fee is used to pay for the operations of the Missouri Veterans Commission, which oversees seven nursing homes. A state tax on casino revenues helps fund public schools.

The House has approved an additional $22 million for public schools because of the funding shortfall and lawmakers are considering a temporary funding boost to help the veterans' homes.

State officials are citing this winter's cold weather among the causes for the revenue decline.

Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - Riverboat casinos in Illinois want to remain open for business around the clock.

   The Illinois Casino Gaming Association is asking state regulators for the okay to operate 24 hours a day. Currently, no casinos are open more than 22 hours.

   The Illinois Gaming Board has scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 19 in Chicago to consider the request.

   Tom Swoik is executive director of the casino gaming association, which represents most of the state's casinos. He says video gaming already is available around the clock at places such as truck stops.

   Swoik says 24-hour operations would raise revenue for the casinos and the state and create jobs.

   Opponents say extending casino hours create more problems for compulsive gamblers, who would never have to leave the casino.

 
Published in Local News
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 13:35

Missouri casinos report decreased revenue

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Casinos across Missouri are reporting decreased revenue this summer, continuing a trend seen at most of the state's 13 riverboat gambling sites last year.

Overall revenues for July were more than $9.5 million less than in July 2012, a 6.3 decline. That means nearly $2 million less for state education spending derived from a gambling tax compared with this time last year. The local governments where the casinos are located will also receive less money from casino admission fees.

The Lumiere Place in downtown St. Louis reported the steepest drop, at 18 percent. Kansas City's Ameristar recorded a 10 percent revenue drop.

Pinnacle Entertainment wants to sell the Lumiere property in response to federal antitrust issues related to its planned purchase of Ameristar Casinos.

Published in Local News

   It looks like the last of the safeguards Missouri legislators had initially placed on casinos could soon be tossed out.  

   A bill now before the Senate would let the state’s 13 casinos issue short-term loans to gamblers, secured by the gamblers' bank accounts.  The measure easily won approval in the state house last month.  

   Casino executives say they need to be able to provide credit in order to attract high-end gamers who don't want to carry large amounts of cash.  

   The measure would repeal the last of the safeguards that were in the original state law voters passed in 1992 when they legalized riverboat gambling.  The rule requiring riverboat casinos to actually be on a boat on a river, and $500 loss limits have already been repealed.

Published in Local News

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