Casino Queen in East St. Louis has reduced its opening times to 20 hours per day and is now closed from 4am to 8am. The casino may reduce hours even further. About 20 workers have been laid off as well. A combination of factors has led up to hard times for the historic riverboat casino that first opened in 1993.

The casino moved land-side in 2007 and Illinois introduced a smoking ban the next year. Then in 2009 the state legalized video gambling in public places causing an even bigger hit to this and other casino’s revenues.

The city, across the river from St. Louis, Missouri, depends heavily on revenues from the casino for public safety budgets. According to Wikipedia (drawing from the FBI’s 100 most dangerous city list) East St. Louis has the highest crime rate in the United States.

While the Video Gaming Act of 2009 has had the desired impact on the overall economy (see story: Illinois casino cafe boom) the unintended consequences of strangling long running casinos is not so desirable.

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