“This project represents one of the largest economic development projects in the history of Cape Girardeau,”

Missouri gaming regulators this morning unanimously approved plans by Isle of Capri Casinos to build a casino in downtown Cape Girardeau in the southeastern part of the state.

The move ends speculation over control of the state’s 13th gaming license, which was returned to the Missouri Gaming Commission last summer by Pinnacle Entertainment when the company closed an aging riverboat casino in downtown St. Louis.

Isle of Capri, which is based in St. Louis, beat out competing proposals for casino projects in northern St. Louis and Kansas City. Gaming analysts had predicted Isle would win out because the other two markets may have reached gaming saturation points.

The company plans to build a $125 million gambling facility in Cape Girardeau, which does not have a casino. Voters in the city overwhelming approved the plans in a referendum on Nov. 2.

In a statement, Isle of Capri said the project is expected to include 1,000 slot machines, 28 table games, three restaurants, a lounge and terrace overlooking the Mississippi River and a 750-seat event center.

Paul Keller, Isle’s chief development officer said. “Our goal is to build a showpiece for southeast Missouri, enhance the historic downtown area, and bring hundreds of quality jobs to the community.”

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