Casino Watch, Inc.
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Contact: Mark Andrews
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GAMING COMMISSION GAMBLES WITH ITS REPUTATION
CHESTERFIELD, MO, November 16, 2006 -- In an unprecedented move, the Missouri Gaming Commission has announced it will run a casino starting next Monday. The casino in question can't pass the Missouri test for licensure, so the Commission plans to run it, giving the profits to the un-licensed company, until an approved licensee can be found. Mark Andrews, Chairman, Casino Watch, Inc. commented, "This is not only a government bail out of private industry, it's one in which the regulator will operate that which it regulates. This is a pure conflict of interest and begs the question, Why?."
Why should Missouri and ultimately the taxpayers bear the brunt of Aztar's threat to close down? Few of us know companies that are worth $2 billion. Certainly Aztar could carve out some kind of bridge compensation package for its employees. The Commission should demand it. In any case, the Gaming Commission's job is to regulate, not operate.
Under the Missouri Constitution which only allows gambling on a limited basis, the State is not authorized to operate casinos. PERIOD. Given this lack of constitutional authorization, the Gaming Commission has no authority to operate a casino - no matter how they vote among themselves or what regulations they may adopt.
Casino Watch remembers when the Missouri Gaming Commission let other casinos off the hook during investigations of wrong doing, such that they could launder their licenses to another company to avoid any further action. Will this prove to be business as usual? The Commission should hold Aztar's feet to the fire.
Missouri's Attorney General has expressed his opinion on this matter. His letter follows.
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