I plan to vote for Proposition A.
Lumiere Place is a visitors draw. Like the nearby Arch and America’s Center, Lumiere brings out-of-towners to St. Louis. According to the casino’s general manager, three-quarters of the people leaving money at Lumiere’s table games and slots are from more than 50 miles away. He and his bosses believe that removing the “administrative hassles” associated with the state’s loss limit will make the Midwest’s most luxurious casino even more attractive to visitors.
The first phase of Lumiere Place, with a new casino, a range of restaurants, and two hotels (including a Four Seasons Hotel that makes the local Ritz Carlton sit up straighter), represents a private developer’s $500 million investment in making St. Louis an entertainment destination. Passage of Proposition A will protect the economic value of what’s already been built and promote further investment. In fact, Pinnacle’s plans for the rest of the 20 acres bounded Third Street, Carr, L. K. Sullivan, and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard are dramatic.
It is not really necessary to untangle the competing claims about increased revenue for public education if Proposition A passes to find a reason to vote for it. A more successful Lumiere (i.e., a casino that encourages more people from even further away to visit St. Louis, dine at downtown’s restaurants, and shop at downtown’s stores) is an important part of maintaining and improving services for City residents during the next few years of tough municipal budgets.
St. Louis has always been a city that understood that our economic well-being depended on separating visitors from their money before they headed west. We should remember our history when we vote on November 4.