State Hopes New Owner Possible Soon for Bootheel Casino

FEBRUARY 28, 2007 - Posted at 7:56 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Gaming Commission has been running a southeast Missouri casino for nearly two months now.  But it hopes a new owner can be found soon.

The commission generally regulates Missouri's gambling boats.  But it voted in November to take over the Casino Aztar in Caruthersville until a new owner can be found.

Commission director Gene McNary defends the unusual move.  He says it was needed to save 300 jobs and $6 million in fees and taxes the casino pays.

The casino's owner was sold to another company that could not quickly find and license a new buyer.

So the state's gaming enforcement manager was appointed to run the casino for up to nine months.  McNary tells legislators that a new buyer could be finalized several months sooner.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)