The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

State News

November 11, 2008

Missouri: Casino revenues up statwide, but with asterisk

The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — October riverboat gambling revenues rose 4 percent statewide over the same month a year ago, but that number is skewed by a new St. Louis casino that wasn’t included in last year’s tally.

Patronage at the casinos also was up in the final month before the repeal of the state’s loss limits, but that also is tempered by Lumiere Place casino, which opened in December.

Without the $12.6 million reported by Lumiere Place, casino revenues for the month would be down about 6.4 percent statewide — though much of the money lost at Lumiere might have gone to other St. Louis-area riverboats. Without Lumiere’s attendance numbers, ridership statewide would be down about 8.3 percent.

Overall, gamblers lost nearly $131 million to the boats in October, with a statewide per-patron loss of $69.26.

In Kansas City, where casinos already are jittery about expanded gambling across the state line in Kansas, revenues dropped 3.5 percent from their year-ago levels and about 50,000 fewer people walked through the turnstiles during the month.

In its monthly report, the Missouri Gaming Commission said only one of the state’s 12 casinos, the Argosy in the Kansas City suburb of Riverside, showed an increase in patrons. One casino stayed about the same and nine saw a decline, while Lumiere Place did not have numbers to compare.

The Argosy is one of only three casinos that reported an increase in revenues over October 2007, with a 3 percent rise. The other two are small-market riverboats in LaGrange, which saw a 9 percent increase, and in St. Joseph with a 2 percent increase.

Harrah’s in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights had the biggest October revenues at $23.25 million, but that’s 8 percent lower than during the same month last year. The casino’s patrons lost an average of $80.15 per visit, which also is the state’s highest.

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