State Capital Bureau
JEFFERSON CITY -- It's back to court for another battle between the state's riverboat casinos and the agency that regulates them.
The Missouri Riverboat Gaming Association is filing a $12 million lawsuit Friday in Cole County Circuit Court against the Missouri Gaming Commission. The suit contends the casinos are being double charged for enforcement of gaming laws and regulations.
The casinos are required by state law to charge a $2-per-person admission fee, $1 of which is sent to the state to cover the commission's administrative costs. The Missouri State Highway Patrol also bills the casinos for the cost of troopers assigned to police the boats.
"The riverboat association believes the licensees are paying for these costs twice -- through payment of the $2 admission fee every two hours and through reimbursements for the actual costs of the highway patrolmen," Michael Ryan, gaming association executive director said in a written statement.
Ryan said since the troopers enforce the commission's regulations, their expenses should be considered administrative costs of the commission, which the $1 fee is supposed to cover.
Harold Bailey, the commission's spokesman, could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.