Bootheel Casino Loses $20 Million Tax Fight

MARCH 2, 2005 - Posted at 7:54 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A Bootheel casino has lost a $20 million fight over its value for tax purposes.

The Missouri Supreme Court yesterday rejected a challenge by Casino Aztar to the value assigned to its property by Pemiscot County's assessor.

Assessor Donna Snider valued the Caruthersville property at $29 million and calculated the casino's 1999 tax at about $500,000.

Casino Aztar appealed to the state Tax Commission, which valued the property at just $9 million.

Now, the state's highest court says the assessor was right.  The court ruled yesterday that casinos should be taxed according to their property's highest commercial potential.

The decision is expected to offer guidance for other counties where casinos are located.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)