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Fifth Anniversary of River City Casino

March 4, 2015 Featured, Popular Culture, St. Louis County 6 Comments

A lot has happened in the five years since River City Casino opened just beyond the city limits in South St. Louis County. The President Casino on the Admiral closed four months later in June 2010. It seems like every remaining casino, at least on the Missouri side, changed ownership. August 2013:

The Federal Trade Commission required Pinnacle to sell one of its two St. Louis-area casinos as a condition of Pinnacle’s $2.8 billion purchase of rival Ameristar Casinos. Pinnacle completed the Ameristar purchase this week. (Lumiere casino sold to Tropicana for $260 million)

I’ve never been inside River City because 1) I don’t enter buildings where smoking is permitted and 2) I’m not a gambler. However, I did post on pedestrian access in March 2012 — see River City Casino Has Surprisingly Good Pedestrian Access Route.

River City Casino in south St. Louis County, 2011
River City Casino in south St. Louis County, 2011
Approaching the casino as a pedestrian
Approaching the casino as a pedestrian, 2012

I could be wrong, but I don’t think South Broadway in St. Louis saw the renaissance that was predicted. It seems we’ve just shifted gambling revenues to a new location.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. guest says:

    The only question I have about the River City Casino is since it foot a big part of the bill to pay for the new “Pavilion at Lemay” (the rec center and pool complex being built at Jefferson Barracks Park), will City of St. Louis residents be allowed admission to the new pool? God knows plenty of city residents lose their money in that casino.

  2. JZ71 says:

    I don’t think that anyone predicted a “renaissance” along S. Broadway, just that an unused, former industrial site would be cleaned up and put to use. Casinos are self-contained destinations, with little spill-over, at least by patrons, to local businesses. Casinos do create a lot of jobs, and some of that money is inevitably spent on local housing and in local businesses.

    And you’re right, gamblers have changed their preferences over the past five years, but the President’s closing had more to do with Lumiere opening than with River City, and the continuing declines in revenues at the two in Illinois (Casino Queen and Alton Belle) seem to be more directly related to a combination of location and Illinois’ prohibition on smoking. The four (remaining) local casinos on the Missouri side (Lumiere, River City, Ameristar and Hollywood) all seem to be doing fairly well, contributing to both state and local revenues. What would’ve been interesting is if the newest casino had ended up in north county, and not in Cape Girardeau.

    Two issues worth exploring would be how to get smoking banned in casinos on the Missouri side and whether betting on casinos is a good economic move for local and state governments? I doubt that the state legislature will tackle the smoking issue, and unless/until there is some sort of intergovernmental agreement between St. Louis County and St. Charles County to implement a simultaneous ban, the ongoing fear that “all” of the gamblers will flock to the casino(s) that still allow(s) smoking (and the negative impact on tax revenues) will remain the biggest hurdle – casinos will never voluntarily alienate any potential customer!

    As for the economic side of the equation, jobs are jobs and gamblers will gamble. If we didn’t have several decent casinos, locally, the gambling would still happen, it would just happen illegally or gamblers would trek to Tunica, Iowa, Louisiana or Las Vegas, and spend their money there. Local growth, here and elsewhere, seems to have been bad for Tunica and Atlantic City, but good for St. Louis County. (And given our ongoing losses in the manufacturing sector, we need to look at other markets.)

  3. Too bad there are still no sidewalks leading to the trail along the Mississippi River. Plenty of people use the trail, it just requires strolling though a bit of grass to get to it.


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