Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Moored Boat Would Benefit City

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Moored Boat Would Benefit City

Article excerpt

The Coast Guard's recommendation that all riverboat casinos along the Missouri River be permanently docked and not allowed to cruise could mean a wave of new money for both the city of St. Charles and Riverfront Station, the company that is planning a gambling boat just south of Frontier Park.

Based on safety concerns, the Coast Guard recently recommended to the Missouri Gaming Commission that the boats being planned for up and down the Missouri be required to remain dockside. Cmdr. Scott Cooper, who heads the Coast Guard district in this area, cited the river's speed, quick rise after rain and what he called a lack of expertise and equipment in most areas to respond to emergencies.

"These conditions create an environment with substantially elevated risks for the operation of large-capacity passenger vessels," he wrote Dec. 22.

Riverfront Station's boat, called Casino St. Charles, will hold about 2,100 people.

"I am not aware of satisfactory and rapid search-and-rescue capabilities in the locales where the vessels will operate," Cooper said. "The Coast Guard does not have these resources, and there are no apparent commitments on the part of host communities to provide these services."

If the Casino St. Charles, which is still waiting for a state license to operate, were required to remain dockside, "it would absolutely mean more money for the city," Mayor Grace Nichols said Monday. Neither city nor Riverfront Station officials could give exact figures.

The company's projections of tax revenue for the city from an excursion boat total $3.2 million a year; that jumps to $4.9 million if dockside gambling is run in conjunction with a cruising casino. However, no projection has been made for a dockside gambling site as compared with a cruising casino.

Nichols said that the casino had projected that turnover would be greater with a dockside operation. Gamblers could come and go as they please, rather than be tied to a schedule of cruises, which usually last several hours.

The city will get $1 from the admission fee collected for each person along with 2 percent of the adjusted gross receipts from the boat. …

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