News Column

Affinity Gaming woes won't impact St. Joseph casino

July 14, 2014

By Jennifer Hall, St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.

July 14--Defaulting on a loan isn't good news, but the St. Jo Frontier Casino won't be impacted by its parent company's financial issues.

Affinity Gaming announced recently that it was expected to default on a portion of nearly $383 million in long-term debt. The company is working to fix issues with its lenders, said Mark Rubinstein, senior vice president and general counsel for Affinity.

"This is not a distress situation," he said. "It will have absolutely no impact on the operations (in St. Joseph) or commitment to the city of St. Joseph."

Beside St. Joe Frontier Casino, Affinity operates other properties in Nevada, Colorado and Iowa.

"It's really up at the parent level," said Chris Krabiel, general manager of the St. Joseph casino.

He said Affinity's recent filing will not affect any plans to locate Downtown.

"We have a company in the midst of doing a large study (on relocating)," Mr. Krabiel said.

Besides the studies on feasibility and revenues, the casino also has had drawings drafted by architects and contracted legal counsel for the project. The company working on the studies are no strangers to the Midwest and have worked on the Power & Light District and Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kan.

"They are familiar with this area, which is why we are using them," Mr. Krabiel said.

Affinity Gaming's default and plans to move Downtown are totally separate, he said.

The Las Vegas-based company said its revenues for the quarter ending June 30 would be between about $96 million and $99 million, compared to $100 million a year earlier. It also will have $900,000 worth of expenses associated with a data breach of its customer credit and debit card processing system earlier this year.

Locally, the St. Jo Frontier Casino has continued to experience some loss in revenues. According to data released by the Missouri Gaming Commission, the St. Joseph operation's adjusted gross revenue for June fell 4 percent, to just more than $3 million, from $3.2 million a year ago. Overall decreases were 6 percent for the facility's year-to-date revenues.

The number of admissions also declined 3 percent for June, to almost 96,000 from 99,000 for the same time in 2013. There was a 5 percent drop in admissions for the year. However, the number of patrons increased by 1 percent in June.

Jennifer Hall can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.


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Source: St. Joseph News-Press (MO)

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