Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jackpot: Casino II Opens to Praise, Crowds

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jackpot: Casino II Opens to Praise, Crowds

Article excerpt

Shortly after the ribbon-cutting Wednesday night for the new dockside gambling casino in St. Charles, gamblers sounded as though they had died and gone to Vegas.

"This has all the makings of a world-class casino," said Robert Ogden of St. Charles."It's right up there with the finest casinos in Nevada."

Ogden, 62, and his wife, Betty, 61, have been to casinos in other parts of the country "many times," he said. Betty, who plied a slot machine with coins, wore a black shirt appliqued with a glittery one-armed bandit.

"Nevada's going to wonder what happened to their people," said Robert Ogden with pride in his voice.

The dockside casino is called Casino St. Charles II and is on the second level of the entertainment barge owned by St. Charles Riverfront Station Inc. The company also runs the Casino St. Charles I, a boat moored on the east side of the stationary barge.

The new casino opened to the public for the first time at 10 p.m., after fireworks and a VIP party featuring Lt. Gov. Roger Wilson and St. Charles Mayor Grace Nichols. By 11 p.m., the new casino was "maxed," said a security guard who asked not to be identified.

Casino St. Charles II has a capacity for 1,970 players. There are 1,211 gaming positions with 755 slot, video poker and video blackjack machines and 53 gaming tables.

"We have doubled the size of our casino," said Mike Shubic, vice president and general manager of Riverfront Station. Four hundred new employees have been hired to bring the total here to about 1,200.

Asked what he thought of the new gaming facility, Rich Curzon of Omaha, Neb., replied, "Ever been to Vegas? This is as close as you'll ever get."

The heavy use of stained glass, ornate chandeliers and twinkling lights are an eye-opener.

Curzon and co-worker Tim Kohlmeyer, also of Omaha, were waiting for a turn at a craps table Wednesday night before leaving town Thursday. The two men installed sound and light equipment for the casino and worked on other casinos around the country, says Curzon. …

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