- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2016

ROCKAWAY BEACH, Mo. (AP) - The mayor of Rockaway Beach said the prospect of bringing a casino to the southwest Missouri town is unlikely.

Mayor Don Smith said there’s an 80 to 90 percent chance that the proposal will not come to fruition for the resort town of 850 near Branson, according to the Springfield News-Leader (http://sgfnow.co/2f4IlUL ).

Smith said the proposal’s backers have determined that even if voters decided to loosen the state’s current restrictions on casinos, the effort would face a lawsuit from Missouri’s existing casinos fearing more competition.

“They would have been able to tie that up in the courts for years,” he said.

The state constitution allows gambling only on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, and the state caps the number of casino licenses issued at 13 - all of which are currently being used.

According to Smith, investors are now considering bringing a non-casino attraction to the town, which has shown interest in having a casino for some time. He previously showed interest in the casino because it would bring jobs to a town that is “tired of being the armpit of poverty.”

The proposal came less than a month after the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected a proposal to bring a casino to Boone County. City and business leaders in Branson, who have been monitoring both Rockaway Beach and Boone County, said they are concerned because gambling could detract from the tourist destinations’ family-friendly brand.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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