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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Three companies seek St. Louis gaming license

30 April 2010

ST. LOUIS, Missouri -- Isle of Capri Casinos, which is based in St. Louis, is one of three parties seeking the Missouri gaming license being abandoned by Pinnacle Entertainment. The Las Vegas-based regional casino operator will surrender the license when it shuts down the President Casino in July.

The President is located on the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis, but that doesn't mean the license with remain in its current location.

Analysts believe the license could lead to a new riverboat casino development in several potential areas of Missouri, including a new site in St. Louis or north in Kansas City.

Isle of Capri Casinos operates riverboat, dockside and land-based casinos at 14 locations in Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Colorado, Iowa and Florida — but none in St. Louis.

The company has about $1.1 billion in annual revenue and is looking at several cities for potential casino sites.

"We continue to explore development opportunities in a number of jurisdictions including evaluating options for the 13th license in Missouri," Jill Haynes, an Isle of Capri spokeswoman told the St. Louis Business Journal. "We have had preliminary conversations regarding several locations throughout the state, but have not yet committed to a specific project."

In addition to Isle of Capri, two companies, Casino Celebration and Blue Sky Development Co., responded to the request for proposal process.

Developer Jim Koman, President of the Casino Queen, which is located in East St. Louis, Ill, heads Casino Celebration. The bid is separate from Casino Queen, which has several investors, including South Point owner Michael Gaughan.