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Pinnacle and Missouri Gaming Commission Settles President Casino Issue

After an arduous battle to keep the President Casino in St. Louis, Pinnacle Entertainment changed their stance on March 11th, 2010 and agreed to close the gambling boat by July 1st, 2010. The President Casino's closure will leave one of the thirteen gaming licenses permitted in Missouri up for bid.

The interim Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment, John V. Giovenco, said in a statement that it was in the best interests of their company and their stakeholders to close this issue. He added that they intend to focus their attention to Lumiere Place and the River City Casino. Lumiere Place is the group's large downtown casino that is just a few hundred yards away from the President Casino.

Lumiere Place had a total revenue of $181.1 million in 2009; the President's gaming revenue was $23.3 million -down by 50% from when Pinnacle acquired the gaming facility in 2006. River City casino is the newest casino in the state and the 7th gaming facility in the area of St. Louis, including two on the Illinois portion of the Mississippi River.

It opened to the public on March 4th, 2010 in south St. Louis County. The Missouri Gaming Commission and Pinnacle Entertainment have been at odds over the fate of the facility since last year, when the commission decided that Pinnacle could not repair or replace the facility.

Commissioners have also alleged that Pinnacle was allowing the casino to decline so that Lumiere Place could improve its earnings. Pinnacle argued that its proposal to fix the aging gaming facility showed its commitment.

Just last week, Pinnacle Entertainment won a court battle over the facility. The Missouri Court of Appeals decided that the commission acted out of place in deciding that Pinnacle could not repair or replace the facility.

The issue was sent back to the commission. The chairman of the Gaming Commission, Jim Mathewson, said it was better for the group to give up the license rather that have it taken away from them.

Mathewson said that it is positive for both sides especially for Pinnacle since they are an excellent corporate citizen in Missouri.


03/18/2010 12:19 PM


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