After members of the Missouri Gaming Commission voted last month, without much explanation, to accept the argument of its staff director that Pinnacle Entertainment could not move or replace its casino on the Admiral without a new license, I wrote here that the matter seemed destined for court. After all, the owners had invested tens of millions of dollars in its casino under the reasonable assumption that they would be allowed to operate as long as they followed the law, and ran an honest, safe operation. The City of St. Louis had also made decisions based on the same assumption. And the Gaming Commission itself, which knew all about the aging Admiral, had recently renewed the casino’s license.
Late last week, Pinnacle announced that it had asked a Court of Appeals to consider whether the Commission has the authority to take the license from a legitimate operator in the City and give it to another operator somewhere else.
Leaving aside most of the other arguments, it seems odd that the Commission, which has certainly allowed other casinos to repair and expand their facilities, would now reverse its course, just after Missouri voters capped the number of gaming licenses in the state.
I’ve asked the City’s lawyers to monitor the case, and to protect any City interests that might be threatened.