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.
Less than a week after Missouri voters approved a measure removing the state’s unique loss limits, gambling officials say it’s too soon to know whether there has been any impact. Casinos were notified Friday morning by the state that the caps had been removed, effective immediately after Election Day.
While pushing Proposition A, which removed the $500 loss limit per two-hour “excursion,” proponents pointed to an estimate by the state auditor’s office that eliminating the cap would bring in an additional $105 million to $130 million in new money for schools.
That was before the economy went into a nosedive.
“We’re not different than other industries,” said Michael Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. “There is the potential for individuals to re-evaluate whether want to come to our properties.”
He said it’s also too early to know whether projections for increased ridership with the passage of Proposition A will be realized because they were made earlier in the year when the economy wasn’t so bleak.
“When the proposal was put together, there were some anticipated admission increases, people we thought we were losing to other jurisdictions either because of the loss limits or player’s card. It’s going to take some time for those things to play out,” Winter said.
Rebecca Theim, a spokeswoman for Ameristar Casinos Inc., said the company was “holding its own in a very tough marketplace.” October revenues dropped 4 percent at its St. Charles casino, from $23.1 million last year to $22.2 million this year, and 5 percent in Kansas City, from $19.8 million a year ago to $18.8 million this year.
“One of the things we’ve worked very hard on is being proactive and nimble in this economy,” she said. “That doesn’t mean we haven’t felt it profoundly.”
She said part of the decline was expected after the company decided to pare its promotions budget because of the economy.
While promoting Proposition A, supporters warned that the state was at an economic disadvantage to other states that didn’t have loss limits and didn’t require their patrons to get an identification card to keep track of their losses.
Looming in that discussion was Kansas, which approved casino gambling last year. The $680 million Hard Rock Hotel and Casino complex at Kansas Speedway, slated to open in 2011, is considered a significant threat to syphon revenue from the four Kansas City-area casinos.
The Associated Press
- State News
Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in Missouri
Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe winter weather that began early this morning, bringing hazardous travel and the possibility of power outages.
Party on? No local love in Princeton Review rankings
There's no love for Missouri Southern State University, Pittsburg State University or Crowder College in the new rankings issued by the Princeton Review. Which, given many of the survey categories, isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Publicist: Andy Williams dies
According to a publicist, Emmy-winning TV host and 'Moon River' crooner Andy Williams has died.
Lions climb into share of MIAA men's basketball lead
Without taking the floor, Missouri Southern has climbed into a first-place tie in the MIAA men’s basketball race.
2.6 magnitude earthquake recorded in Oklahoma
The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a 2.6 magnitude earthquake near Wellston in central Oklahoma.
No injuries or damage is reported.
Audit: $108,000 taken from Missouri Veterans Commission
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A former employee of the state auditor’s office embezzled nearly $108,000 while working as an accountant for the Missouri Veterans Commission, the state auditor alleged Monday.
Stacy Griffin-Lowery was fired by the Veterans Commission in March 2008 and pleaded guilty three months later to a misdemeanor theft charge. She repaid the state $17,665, the auditor’s office said.
But Missouri Auditor Susan Montee on Monday accused Griffin-Lowery of swiping an additional $90,192 by getting reimbursed for cash advances and purchases made on her personal credit card.
Race in Kansas’ 2nd District could heat up for GOP incumbent
TOPEKA, Kan. — A conservative Kansas legislator said Monday he will announce in a few weeks whether he will challenge freshman U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins in the Republican primary.
State Sen. Dennis Pyle’s actions in recent months suggest the Hiawatha farmer, who’s served in the Legislature since 2001, is running against Jenkins in the Aug. 2 primary. He set up a campaign organization in November and has a Web site featuring a brief video of him on his farm, asking viewers for support.
Oklahoma tea party leaders, lawmakers envision militia
OKLAHOMA CITY — Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.
Tea party movement leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force
- Missouri: Senate panel cuts $500 million from proposed budget JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Senate committee declared Thursday that it has sliced more than $500 million from Missouri’s proposed budget for next year — meeting a target set by Gov. Jay Nixon to bring it in balance.
- Kansas: Wichita-area casino in doubt after governor’s decision TOPEKA, Kan. — A proposed casino south of Wichita was in doubt Thursday after Gov. Mark Parkinson refused to grant its developers a regulatory reprieve. Partners in the $225 million Chisholm Creek project wanted to delay a state board’s decision on their plans.
- More State News Headlines
- Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in Missouri