Early casino opening to add revenue to St. Louis County
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 14, 2009
By Phil Sutin
The earlier-than-anticipated opening of the River City casino in Lemay in March could bring more than $2 million in additional revenue to St. Louis County this year.
Pinnacle Entertainment, the casino owner, said this morning that River City would open in early March. It did not provide a specific date.
Pamela Reitz, the county's director of administration, estimated the casino would generate $1.25 million a month. But the county charter says the county can only recognize 90 percent of that, $1.125 million. In drafting the budget for next year, the county anticipated that the casino would open on June 1, she said.
The county council is scheduled on Tuesday to consider adopting a total county budget for next year of nearly $498.8 million.
The budget said the casino would generate $6.8 million this year, but the county would spend very little of that money, just for police and some road maintenance.
Because the casino is a new revenue source, the county does not want to spend much of the money it generates "until the facility is fully operational and actual revenues can be evaluated," County Executive Charlie Dooley said in his budget message.
Garry Earls, the county's chief operating officer, said the casino's early opening does not change the county's plans.
The county's revenue would come from the property tax, a head tax and the county's part of a gaming fee, he said. Estimating the revenue is difficult, he said.
The early opening "means a greater probability that we would get the money we budgeted," Earls said.