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Koman, Tropicana to jointly fund Chain of Rocks casino

The proposed design for Casino Celebration.
(Casino Celebration)
The proposed design for Casino Celebration.

A Las Vegas-based gaming company has entered a deal to help finance and operate the proposed casino at the Chain of Rocks bridge in north St. Louis.

The financing by the numbers:

  • 2 Companies financing:  Tropicana Entertainment and the Koman Family (as Casino Celebration)
  • $130 Million:  Total cost of casino construction, $65 million from each company
  • 120,000 square feet: The estimated size of the proposed new casino.

The two companies are still working on the joint operation agreement.
Three developers, including Koman, are bidding for the state's 13th gaming license, which became available after the President Casino closed in June.

"We think this makes a strong proposal even stronger," Casino Celebration attorney Greg Smith said, "I think what it reflects is the attractiveness of this opportunity for one of the most solid and financially stable gaming companies in the country."

City officials have argued whenever possible that the license belongs in the city to replace the revenue the President provided. Monday's deal, said St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Rodney Crim, should make it obvious to gaming regulators that Casino Celebration would indeed be built if it gets the license.

"Tropicana is a strong company, brings a lot to the party both in terms of financial resources as well as experience nationally, partnered with with our local developer who is also strong financially," he said.

The Gaming Commission could award that license at its meeting on Wednesday. Aneconomic impact study the state released last Friday appears to give momentum to an Isle of Capri proposal in Cape Girardeau, but Crim said that study did not include some important factors. The city also responded to the impact study.