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Missouri Casino Drops Table Games over Staffing Issues

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The Mark Twain Casino, a staple in the local entertainment scene since 2001, is bidding farewell to its live table games, including poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, and mini-baccarat. The decision comes as the establishment faces challenges in recruiting new dealers and supervisors, hampering its ability to efficiently operate these traditional casino offerings.

Dealer Dilemma in Missouri

While digital versions of the games will still be available, the removal of live table options will necessitate a reduction in the casino's workforce. The exact number of employees affected has not been disclosed, with the casino only acknowledging that a "small number of employees" might be impacted.

Originally under the ownership of Grace Entertainment, the casino changed hands to Herbst Gaming in 2005. It underwent a name change to Terrible's Mark Twain Casino and later reverted to Mark Twain Casino when Herbst rebranded as Affinity Gaming in 2011.

The decision to discontinue live table games reflects the ongoing challenges faced by the casino industry in staffing key positions. Recent strikes by casino workers in Las Vegas and Michigan, as well as other locations, show a shift in what employees expect in terms of compensation.

Those larger gambling regions attract billions of dollars in revenue, allowing them to be somewhat more flexible in meeting employee demands. However, some smaller casino operations with reduced footprints don't have as much leeway.

Missouri Casino Expansion on the Table

Missouri only has 13 casinos, but could add another next year. In the ongoing effort to establish a gambling casino near the Lake of the Ozarks in mid-Missouri, a significant development occurred on Tuesday. The Missouri Secretary of State's office has given approval for the language of a proposed ballot initiative that aims to gauge voters' interest in amending the state Constitution to allow for a 14th gambling license.

The next phase involves supporters selecting one of four proposed petitions to circulate, with the goal of collecting a minimum of 170,000 signatures to secure a spot on the 2024 ballot. The proposed amendment would become law if more than 50% of voters support it.

If the initiative receives approval, it stipulates that all state tax revenue generated from gambling must be allocated to education-related expenditures. Tim Hand of Osage River Gaming, which is backing the petition, mentioned that the campaign to secure casino approval might cost up to $10 million. However, the expenses could be lower if substantial opposition does not emerge.

This initiative comes on the heels of the Legislature's inability earlier this year to reach a consensus on putting the casino question on the ballot themselves.

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