JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – If the Osage Nation’s hope of landing a casino in the Show-Me State is to come to fruition, it will first have to demonstrate its benefits for the state.
Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear of the Osage Nation told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Gov. Eric Greitens had said he would support a Native American casino in Missouri if it was good for the state and good for the Osage.
Rep. Jason Chipman, R-Steelville, is the representative for Crawford and Phelps Counties. He says he would support a Native American casino in Cuba, as it would potentially lead to more revenue in the county, as well as more industry and jobs through tourism.
“The devil is always in the details,” Chipman said. “I think it will provide an opportunity to bring more revenue into a county that really needs it. Overall, it would be a benefit for Crawford County, Cuba, the state and the Osage. Obviously, we don’t want to do anything that would be detrimental to the state.”
Chipman says that the governor’s number one job is doing what is best for the state, and that should be the deciding factor.
But not everyone shares that sentiment.
Don Hinkle, the public policy advisor for the influential Missouri Baptist Convention, editor of The Pathway, and one of the state’s most vocal evangelicals, says that the Missouri Baptist Convention would strongly oppose a casino because of the detrimental effects they believe gambling has on a society.
Hinkle says that he would say the exact same things to the governor if he were sitting next to him and that if this were to ever appear before the legislature, he would be there fighting it.
“We’ll fight it tooth and nail because it’s bad stuff,” Hinkle said. “A new casino coming to Missouri would be a bad and destructive thing. There is no way that Missourians who have a lot of common sense and are good at math… and they know that the numbers do not work. It doesn’t add up. Because of the vice and crime that casinos bring with them, they destroy families, they bring financial ruin, they prey on the impoverished, and they prey on our children.
“Gambling is a form of economic predation. They’re predators. It benefits international corporations while opposing the lower class, the very people we need to be helping here in Missouri. Allowing casinos to prey on them is not good economics, it’s not good business, and it’s not good for Missouri. Every Missourian ought to stand up and call this out for what it is. It’s wrong, and we don’t need it in Missouri. Missouri has a great economy with great people who are willing to work.”
Hinkle says that Greitens’ response in which he said he would support it if it were good for Missouri should be taken with a grain of salt.
“That’s a mighty big caveat, and I’d tend to give the governor some slack here. It doesn’t sound to me like he’s committed to it,” he said.
He also said he would not comment on the governor’s potential connections in the efforts leading to a Native American casino or how the governor raised his money but said that in general terms, the Missouri Baptist Convention would call on all politicians to be transparent.