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Chain of Rocks casino gets city backing, but hurdles remain

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – The city of St. Louis has given its blessing to a proposed casino at the Chain of Rocks Bridge in north St. Louis.

Komen Properties, which also owns and operates the Casino Queen, wants to put a 120,000 square-foot casino at the foot of the Chain of Rocks bridge. The $115 million plan got approval Tuesday from the city's redevelopment and port authorities.

But city backing, while required by state law for a casino application, provides no guarantee than Komen will receive the 13th license. The Chain of Rocks casino would be the 7th in the bi-state region, and recent gaming numbers have raised questions about the ability of the market to sustain another gaming facility.

Komen also must secure land from the city's water department and Great Rivers Greenway, as well as access the $115 million in financing. That may be the easiest part- Komen is the developer on the Centene headquarters building, securing the financing for that in the midst of the ongoing recession.

State gaming regulators plan to award the license near the end of the year. Developers in Kansas City and Cape Girardeau have also expressed interest in the license. Voters in Cape Girardeau will decide in November whether to make gambling illegal in the city.