A legislator from around the Lake of the Ozarks wants to allow riverboat gambling there.
No, this is not a recap of the Netflix show with Jason Bateman.
Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, filed a real resolution in the Missouri capitol Friday that would ask voters to add the Osage River to the list of waterways where casinos are permitted.
In an interview Monday, Miller said he’s long thought it’s wrong that the state constitution allows riverboat gambling solely on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
It’s been that way ever since Missourians voted to revive gambling on the two big rivers in 1992.
Now, this isn’t his first time talking about it.
Miller said he consulted on the Netflix show “Ozark,” which centers on the Byrde family’s efforts to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel in Osage Beach.
Season 2 focuses on their efforts to open a riverboat casino at Lake of the Ozarks.
And Miller says he told the showrunners about the law.
“People have kind of noticed it sounds like the show and I say, ‘Yeah, because I’m the one that told the guys about it,’” Miller said.
He said the idea would help out in real life, too, though.
“I care about my area here and the fact that they’ve had an economic bias placed against them,” he said.
The resolution wouldn’t necessarily bring anything to his area immediately. It wouldn’t touch the limit voters put on the casino licenses in 2008, and all 13 of those are currently in use.
But if one were to come available, he said, his area “would become a great option to revive some revenue.”
It’s not clear how much interest there is in the General Assembly this year.
Miller said he thinks there’s a chance it gets through the House, though the always-mercurial Senate is a bigger question mark.
He said he thought leaving the cap alone would help with the casino lobby, though. He added that requiring a public vote on the issue could be a way to pitch the bill as well.
Miller isn’t the first person with an idea to bring casinos off the big rivers.
In 2004, an initiative petition put a similar amendment on the ballot to allow floating gambling facilities on Lake Taneycomo in Rockaway Beach.
That idea ran into opposition from Branson business leaders like Silver Dollar City co-owner Pete Herschend, who raised concerns about the effect a casino might have on Branson’s family-friendly reputation. Voters shot down the idea at the same time they approved a ban on gay marriage.
Rockaway Beach hasn’t given up, but efforts to revive the idea have been unsuccessful so far.
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