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Gaming commission turns down plans for Admiral riverboat

(UPI photo)

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – It appears that a new casino license will be up for grabs next year in Missouri.

State gaming regulators say the owners of the President Casino in St. Louis must apply for a new casino license if they want to replace the aging riverboat.

Pinnacle Entertainment, which owns the casino on the Admiral, wants to replace it with a new barge at the same site on Laclede's Landing once the Admiral is decertified next summer. But Missouri Gaming Commission executive director Gene McNary says that's not possible.

"Their license is boat-specific. In other words, it was the Admiral, not another boat that was licensed. And so when they bring another boat in there the commission is supposed to consider their application and make a review of whether that boat is acceptable," McNary said.

Today's decision is significant because a 2008 voter-approved law caps the number of casino licenses at 13. Missouri currently has 12 casinos and one under construction, so Pinnacle would have to compete with others seeking to develop a new facility once the President is shut down.

Calls to Pinnacle for reaction to the commission's action were not returned.