Cape Girardeau may soon be home to Missouri's newest casino. And don't think for a minute that the potential casino doesn't impact Sikeston. You would be wrong.
As a disclaimer, I enjoy a visit to the casino probably more often than I should. And the "convenience" of locating a gaming facility virtually in our own backyard has some logistical appeal.
The gaming casino in Caruthersville attracts Sikeston-area residents but the planned size of the Cape facility will surely overshadow the one in Caruthersville and probably move some of that "business" to the new site.
Cape is a finalist for the new casino along with two proposals in St. Louis and another in the Kansas City area. Some believe Cape is the frontrunner because of the number of casinos already located in the urban areas. Only time will tell.
On the one hand, I'm not comfortable with Cape becoming a "casino town" because I have concerns that it may negatively impact the image of Cape which I hold in high regard. But the promise of additional tax revenues and jobs is a strong lure in today's economy.
The bottom line, of course, is that Sikeston has virtually no say on the matter and that is the way it should be. The reality is that Cape already garners millions of dollars from Sikeston residents each year with their retail outlets, restaurants and medical facilities not to mention the University. The casino will mean more dollars flow from Sikeston pockets to Cape. Make of that what you want.
Some of those promised jobs will likely be held by Sikeston residents and that, in itself, is a good thing. Granted, there is always the potential that the lure of gambling will cost area residents more than they can afford and that brings many more problems into the equation.
Regardless, there are two sides to the casino coin and that doesn't account for the moral aspect of gambling which plays heavily into the Cape decision.
First, Cape voters will cast their opinions on the issue in the near future and that outcome will heavily impact the location decision of the Missouri Gaming Commission. It appears Cape voters - if I am reading the tea leaves correctly - will support the Cape location.
Cape has promised some of the revenue from the casino will be "shared" with area communities - specifically Jackson and Scott City. It's not a great deal of "sharing" but it does provide additional ammunition to support the casino.
Sikeston residents don't have a direct dog in this fight. But don't be so naive as to think the planned location will not attract Sikeston residents to the new facility. It certainly will.