Latest News
6/22/08 TO 6/28/08

Authorities raid alleged cockfighting site in Johnson County

MO - Authorities on Wednesday descended on a rural Johnson County homestead and swooped up more than 170 fighting roosters, 42 breeding hens and tens of thousands of dollars. They think that cockfights were routinely held at the spot south of De Soto. Their two-year investigation was sparked by complaints from neighbors. Cockfighting is outlawed in every state but Louisiana. Missouri outlawed it in 1998. In Kansas, a violation is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine. Cockfighting is a spectator sport with a long history in America. Gambling is generally a big part of it, with bets on which rooster will last the longest. / The Kansas City Star / By DIANE CARROLL and FINN BULLERS / Jun. 25, 2008

Blunt signs repeal of tax cut tied to casino revenue

MO - The law required the city to reduce its property tax rate after any year in which the city's take from Ameristar admission fees exceeded the amount collected in 2007. The fees are paid by the casino,not customers. The size of the property tax cut would have offset the excess casino fees. / ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH / By Mark Schlinkmann / 6-27-08

Developers still after Cape casino

MO - Cape Girardeau businessman David Knight said he will continue to pursue a casino-company partner to participate in the riverboat and entertainment complex he hopes to build. The announcement came despite a unanimous Missouri Gaming Commission vote Monday to impose a statewide freeze on new riverboat applications until November, when voters may see a ballot issue that would permanently block the construction of new casinos. / Southeast Missourian / By Rudi Keller / June 21, 2008

From poultry to politics: It's all in a day's work for Sheriff Frank

MO - A multi-jurisdictional raid on an illegal cockfighting operation... , Denning said he was amazed to find a sophisticated egg-to-death operation where up to 60 hens gave birth to future feathered combatants. Evidence gathered showed the animals were trained and "juiced" with steroids to be aggressive in the ring... / Finn Bullers / June 26, 2008

Hearing on casino petition court challenge set for Friday

MO - Will Missouri ever see another riverboat casino? Will the existing limits on gamblers' losses be eliminated? The Missouri Gaming Commission last week set a moratorium on considering new casino applications, until voters decide whether the state should limit the number of casinos allowed in the state. Two St. Louis County residents - Edwin P. McKaskel and Dr. Harold H. Hendrick - sued Carnahan and Montee in March. In their 25-page amended lawsuit filed April 2, McKaskel and Hendrick argue that: * The ballot title prepared by Carnahan's office "is illegal, insufficient, unfair, deceptive, prejudicial and does not give fair notice" of the proposal. * Carnahan's summary language "deceives and prejudices the voters into believing that elementary and secondary education will be improved through the passing of the initiative (which) may or may not result." / By Bob Watson / Jun 22, 2008

Joyce hears lawyers' arguments in ballot case

MO - It will be at least the second week in July before Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce rules on a legal challenge to a proposed change in Missouri's casino boat laws. After a 90-minute hearing Friday, Joyce gave attorneys until July 7 to submit proposed court orders backing their arguments. Audrey Hanson McIntosh, one of two lawyers who filed the lawsuit, told Joyce Friday Carnahan's ballot language "fails to give voters adequate notice that they voted on this (issue) ... in 1992, and that this would repeal what was voted on then." McIntosh also wants the court to reject the initiative because it proposes to change several state laws, when Missouri's Constitution requires initiative proposals to cover only one subject. / News Tribune / By Bob Watson / Jun 27, 2008

Judge hears challenge to Mo. casino initiative

MO - A state judge is considering whether the ballot summary for a casino-backed initiative could mislead Missouri voters... The net effect is that gamblers are expected to bet more and lose more, that casinos are projected to rake in hundreds of millions of more dollars... In court Friday, opponents argued that the secretary of state's ballot summary for the initiative could mislead voters and should be stricken or changed. The judge issued no ruling after Friday's hearing. She asked attorneys to submit sample court orders by July 8. / Associated Press / By DAVID A. LIEB / 06.27.08,

Judge to make ruling on proposal that would repeal gambling limits

MO - The net effect [of the casino-backed iitiative] is that gamblers are expected to bet more and lose more, that casinos are projected to rake in hundreds of millions of more dollars... In court Friday, opponents argued that the secretary of state's ballot summary for the initiative could mislead voters and should be stricken or changed. The lawsuit also seeks to strike wording noting the new tax revenues would be placed in the "Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Improvement Fund." Although that's the official title of the fund created by the initiative, opponents argue the wording implies the money actually will result in improved schools and thus could unfairly cause some people to support the measure. / The Associated Press / By DAVID A. LIEB / June 27, 2008

KC Isle gets new boss

MO - Brian Watts has been named vice president and general manager at Isle of Capri Casino in Kansas City. / by Rick Alm / June 27, 2008

KC smoking ban effective today for bars, restaurants, tobacco stores

MO - As of today, smoking is officially banned in restaurants, taverns and tobacco stores. "This is obviously good news," city health director Rex Archer said of the ruling. "The public will be protected." Smoking is still permitted on the gaming floors of Kansas City's two casinos. Smoking will only be banned from Kansas City's gaming floors when it is also prohibited in other casinos in the five-county area. Jace Smith, director of grassroots advocacy with the American Heart Association in the Kansas City area, also was pleased. "This ordinance will protect the public's health, and it's much-needed to improve public health," he said. "We feel all workers deserve the right to breath clean indoor air, and all residents and visitors to Kansas City deserve that right as well." As for casino gaming floors, Smith said his organization would keep pushing to get that exemption removed. / The Kansas City Star / By LYNN HORSLEY and JOYCE SMITH / Jun. 20, 2008

LumiEere billboard is real eye-catcher

MO - The billboard outside downtown's LumiEere Place casino on Interstate 70 resembles a JumboTron, flashing scenes of card playing, boutique stores and a woman holding up lingerie inside a posh hotel room. Now tell me that's not distracting, LumiEere met with state officials months ago about the billboard, said Shelley Dubinsky, outdoor advertising permit specialist with the Missouri Department of Transportation. The department told casino officials they didn't need a permit for it. That's because the screen sits on casino property and advertises nothing but LumiEere. State law says flashing billboards near highways can promote only goods or services on the same premises, Dubinsky said. / ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH / By Elisa Crouch and Ken Leiser / 06/22/2008

Lumiere's lingerie turning (drivers') heads

MO - The billboard outside downtown's Lumiere Place casino on Interstate 70 resembles a JumboTron, flashing scenes of card playing, boutique stores and a woman holding up lingerie inside a posh hotel room. Now tell me that's not distracting, It's Las Vegas meets St. Louis, only I-70 isn't exactly The Strip. It's an interstate crowded with already distracted drivers, entrance and exit ramps that can be confusing, and out-of-towners gaping at the Gateway Arch. / by Rick Alm / June 23, 2008

Rick's (very abridged) world history of gambling

MO - In 1812 the first Mississippi River steamboats appeared_complete with gambling tables and professional card sharks... In 1815 New Orleans licensed city casinos to raise municipal revenue. By 1832 eight states were operating lotteries, but most were plagued by scandals that triggered a massive public backlash. Gambling scandals and cheating were running rampant by the latter years of the 19th Century. In 1890 Congress banned the sale by mail of lottery tickets. By 1910 the reformers had again squelched most government-sanctioned gambling in this country with the notable exception of many horse tracks. In 1931 Nevada became the first state to legalize its seedy gambling parlors. In 1946 mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky opened the Flamingo Casino on what would become known as the Las Vegas Strip. In 1947 Siegel was gunned down... In 1987 the U.S. Supreme Court finally decided its first tribal case, ruling that the Cabazon Tribe in California had the right to offer gambling on its reservation. The court also held that any regulation of tribal gambling must be by the federal government, not the states. That was all that Congress needed to hear. In 1988 it passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which has proven to be one of the most loophole-ridden laws ever devised by Washington. Today there are 424 tribal casinos in the nation, and I'd guess more than half of them had to win a court fight against somebody over one loophole or another. Around 1995 the first Internet casinos appeared in cyber-space, making it possible for the first time in history to gamble at home and lose your shirt without ever having putting it on. Estimates vary, but worldwide online gambling today is probably a $15 billion dollar a year business, or maybe twice that sum. Or three times. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. The Cloverleaf Tavern at 3830 Main was renowned as a sports book. The State Line Tavern, sometimes called the Last Chance Tavern, at Southwest Blvd and State Line Road_and straddling the state line_frustrated the grand jury for its cleverness in evading prosecution for so long. The place was closed soon thereafter, but only because its two principal bosses were gunned down in an era of mob violence that continued well into the 1970s in Kansas City. / by Rick Alm / June 21, 2008

River waters rise higher; flood cancels Alton's July 4 festival

MO - In East St. Louis, the Casino Queen sits well above the waterline. General Manager Tom Monaghan said the business didn't shut down in 1993, when the casino was on a boat in the river, and has no plans to close its doors to customers now that it is on land and protected by a flood wall. / News-Democrat / BY JENNIFER A. BOWEN / Jun. 26, 2008

Two men charged in alleged cockfighting operation

MO - Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline on Friday filed 345 criminal charges against two men in an alleged cockfighting operation on a homestead near Gardner. On Wednesday, 28 animal welfare workers and sheriff's deputies corralled the chicks, hens and roosters and photographed and catalogued each one at the site of the alleged gaming venue... "In cockfighting we find there are also drugs and abuse, weapons and violence involved. And that abuse and violence does not operate in a vacuum," she said. "It spreads to other areas." / The Kansas City Star / By FINN BULLERS and DIANE CARROLL / Jun. 27, 2008