Senator Bill Kenney
Room 427
State Capitol Building
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Dear Senator Kenney:

I am writing in response to an article in the Post Dispatch (28 Feb 01) describing proposed legislation (SB. 546) to put a cap on the number of casinos to be licensed in Missouri.

While I applaud such a proposal wholeheartedly, it makes me very uneasy that Kimmswick still figures in the number of casinos to meet the number of available licenses. Frankly, a limit of 12 casinos is more than enough.

It is no secret that the town of Kimmswick is resisting the placement of a casino on its doorstep with all it can muster. Our great frustration is, that having given substantial proof to the Gaming Commission that the Isle of Capri misrepresented itself to the Commission in its application, the latter body seems unwilling to take action on it. In the meantime, Isle of Capri is attempting to go for some of the permits it didn't have when they told the Commission that they, indeed, had such permits. In fairness, the Commissions decision in choosing Kimmswick for the casino was a 3 to 2 split.

It is small comfort to us that the casino has the comfort of knowing that it can build on a provisional license, and gamble on the chance that its licensure will proceed after having "fixed" all the shortcomings in its original application for a license. I agree wholeheartedly with the provision of SB. 546, which does permit construction on the casino site only after it has been licensed.

Another disturbing thing is that Isle of Capri lawyers have been harassing a local landowner whose property would be needed for the casino's access road. They tried to make him sign a deed that was invalid and indicated that if he didn't "negotiate" with them, that his property (25 acres) would be taken. They offered the man approximately 1/10 of what his property would be worth on the open market. It is unconscionable that a private, for-profit corporation should be allowed the use of eminent domain to take a man's private property. The property is just outside of town. Of course, it would be Jefferson County that would carry out the eminent domain acquisition of this property. County officials are considering it.

County commissioners are quite indifferent to our concern about the closeness of the casino property to our town. They say that we have not contacted them about all this. Our position is that they should have come to us. This casino, if it is allowed to come in, will be the only casino in Missouri which borders on residential properties, and which lies approximately 1700 feet from where I am writing this letter.

It is further frustrating to us that the Gaming Commission is a law unto itself. No one can touch it (or is willing to)! A little 4th class city like Kimmswick (pop. 135 +) is simply not protected from entities like gambling companies.

If possible, I would like to meet with you in the near future and bring with the evidence that we brought before the Gaming Commission. I want to reiterate that Kimmswick does not want this casino or any other casino on the edge of town. We are in this for the long haul.

I am a resident and merchant in Kimmswick and am also an alderman.

In short, can you help us in any way?

Sincerely,

Kenneth Peck

Click here to read Senator Kenney's response.