Congratulations are in order for the city of Cape Girardeau following their successful bid to land the final casino gaming license in Missouri. Some in Cape have long coveted the casino as a huge financial asset for the city and Cape voters recently showed their approval in a citywide vote.
The midsize casino is expected to employ 450 people and pour millions in revenue into both city and state coffers. Some of those much-needed jobs will surely be held by Sikeston area residents.
On reflection, the casino will undoubtedly be a plus for the Cape area and that includes Sikeston. I had expressed earlier concerns that the casino could potentially change the culture of the city and that would be a shame. I think of Cape as a regional education and medical destination as well as our largest regional retail center. With a large university, the ever-present Mississippi River and Interstate 55, Cape has a lot going for it.
I had reservations that Cape might become a "casino town" and I did not want that for the city nor our region.
I have questions on the final impact the casino will bring to the community. I firmly believe the Cape casino will be a major negative blow to the existing casino in Caruthersville - though both are owned by the same company. And those in Illinois who argue the Cape casino will have no impact on the Metropolis casino are just flat wrong.
The glowing aspect of the Cape Isle of Capri casino is the prospect of those all-important 450 jobs. By any definition, that is a major addition for our region.
Honestly, it was a foregone conclusion that Cape would come out the winner in the casino decision. Both St. Louis and Kansas City suffer from casino overload and that put Cape in the driver's seat. A subsequent statewide study also showed that the Cape facility would generate the most state revenue.
Given the dismal state of the economy, we'll take a wait and see approach before we pronounce the Cape casino a surefire winner.
If you open it, they will come. But only if you offer something for every customer, will they return.