June: Gambling advocates have filed a petition with state officials to begin the process of putting a Rockaway Beach casino up for a statewide vote in November 2004.

Approval would enable a constitutional change to allow a floating facility within a moat in the White River inside city limits. In addition to state approval, voters in Rockaway Beach would have to approve the casino and it would have to be licensed by the Missouri Gaming Commission.

Druck (president of Southwest Casino and Hotel Corp) said it's likely that Southwest Casino will hire a company that specializes in collecting signatures, noting the company has $5 million set aside in the project's budget to win approval.
By Kathryn Buck/News-Leader/6.12.03

Rockaway Beach, MO, population 275, wants a casino on Lake Taneycomo to revive their rundown former resort community. Located just 15 miles from Branson, the new casino would require changing the state constitution. Southwest Casino and Hotel Corporation is funding the $5,000,000 petition drive to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2004 statewide ballot. newstribune.com 8.23.03

Peter Herschend, co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Co., said he continues to be "unalterably opposed" to gaming anywhere near Branson. "If this became seen as a gambling area, it would destroy the visitor structure as we know it," Herschend said. "We're talking about people's expectations when they're coming down here. They know this as a family-friendly area, and there are many people who will not vacation in Las Vegas." News-Leader 6.12.03


February: Rockaway Beach voters approved city officials issuing a casino license if the Missouri Constitution is changed on the August ballot to allow casinos on the White River.

March: Southwest Casino's initiative petition is approved.

March: Rockaway casino opponents ask the Missouri Legislature to pass a bill that would allow Taney County to vote before allowing a new casino. The bill failed to pass before the session ended.

May: On Monday, Secretary of State Matt Blunt certified the proposed constitutional amendment for the ballot after verifying that supporters had gathered enough (180,000) petition signatures.

May: Gov. Bob Holden announced late Monday that the issue of whether or not to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow gambling at Rockaway Beach will be placed on the August ballot, not the November ballot as originally planned.

June: Opponents filed lawsuit to prevent the proposed constitutional amendment on the August ballot. Arguments against the amendment were, it doesn’t meet the constitutional requirements and violates the law on state revenue given to education. Other arguments against were presented.

June: The judge dismissed the lawsuit.