Investors lay out plans for possible casino in Cape

By Crystal Britt

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -  Thursday night investors looking to bring a casino to Cape Girardeau met in a special study session with the Cape Girardeau City Council.

They met at the Osage Centre with several members of the community watching closely.

One company is looking to bring an Isle of Capri casino to town. The other company is not saying yet what its plans are.

A full house was on hand to listen to both groups. The first group was St. Louis Capital Partners, LLC.

The investors are hoping to put a casino on the south side of Cape Girardeau near the river. They actually have two locations in mind.

They touted the potential positive impact. "We would expect a casino in Cape Girardeau would produce greater than 500 new jobs. These will not be low paying jobs or jobs without benefits. They would be just the opposite," said Joseph Uram.

They also want to dispel what the investors call myths about organized crime, and an increase in drugs and prostitution.

"It does (drugs and prostitution) happen, but it's so rare. The numbers are minuscule. If you question it contact the Missouri Gaming Commission," said Larry Trent.

The other group hoping to obtain the 13th casino license in Missouri is Dream Big LLC.

The casino company at the council meeting to present the proposal: Isle of Capri.  It's the same company that operates Lady Luck in Caruthersville.

"This (the newly proposed Cape casino) is about 125 to 135,000 square feet. There would be a large gaming floor in the center, ringed by restaurants and an event center," said Paul Keller-Isle of Capri Senior Vice President.

The location they're looking at is the old shoe factory site off Main Street near Red Star.

They too promise about 450 good paying jobs, and an increase in tax revenue.

"We don't want to be out on the interstate or a remote location," said  James Perry-Chairman and CEO of Isle of Capri. "We want to be an integral part of revitalizing the downtown area."

It's highly competitive not just with the groups vying for a chance to build in Cape, but as a whole.

That 13th license could go elsewhere like to St. Louis or Kansas City.

Plus, it looks like the matter will go to the voters in November who will decide whether to allow gaming in the city.

If approved, City Manager Scott Meyer talked about the soonest Cape would see a casino.

"If decisions were made by the end of this year or early next, then you're talking about the mid part of 2012," said Meyer.

The city council has yet to endorse either group as members are just in the beginning stages of learning about the projects.

Those interested in developing a casino in Cape Girardeau have until September to submit their application and fee to the Missouri Gaming Commission.

Another company, Unbridled Entertainment, has shown interest in developing a casino as well. This group was not present at Thursday night's meeting.

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