Sam Murrell, Executive Director


September 1, 2004
The Casino They Endorsed

Today the Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC) moved another step closer to picking a company to build St. Louis' next two casinos. The stated purpose of the meeting was to prioritize the applicants and pick one company as "priority for investigation". Basically, that meant they would pick one company to move to the next level. That chosen casino company would then be investigated in greater detail to determine if the MGC's initial assessment of the company's assets and capabilities were accurate. To no ones surprise, Kevin Mullally, the MGC's Executive Director, recommended Pinnacle.

Mullally reviewed the steps that led up to the recommendation of Pinnacle. One of his main points had to do with what he called "the extensive process" his staff went through to come to its recommendation. During his introduction he again took an opportunity to ridicule the information Casino Watch, RAGE and South County First provided to his staff and the Commission regarding the social costs of gambling. William Thompson's report received special attention in this regard.

In the course of gathering signatures for the attempted referendum, No More County Casinos gathered over 4000 signatures of registered voters in Campisi's district who are against a new casino in their community, and 22,000 signatures across St. Louis County that are opposed. Yet the MGC and the County Council point to a survey of 300 people and proudly proclaim that the "overwhelming majority" of people in South County are for the casino. Most of the County Council had their mind made up from the beginning. All they could see were dollar signs.

One thing is certain, neither the Gaming Commission nor the County Council has any interest in the social impact of gambling on citizens of Metro St. Louis. Missourians who go bankrupt, destroy their families and become problem gamblers, are simply collateral damage to be walked over on the way to the bank.