A Missouri House committee considered a bill Wednesday evening that would put a constitutional amendment before voters to expand casino gambling.
House Joint Resolution 23 would put a measure on the ballot that, if passed, would allow the Missouri Gaming Commission to grant a license for a casino on the Osage River. Missouri has 13 casinos on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jeff Knight, R-Lebanon, cited projections that a casino in the Lake of the Ozarks region could net about $100 million in revenue annually.
Mayor Dennis Newberry of Lake Ozark, a city of 2,000 along the Osage River considered the most likely site for a casino, said the city needs about $25 million in capital improvement projects it cannot afford. He blamed too few local taxpayers and a lack of “meaningful reinvestment” in the city’s hospitality industry in 40 or 50 years.