The Mark Twain Casino, which sits on the Missouri/Illinois border, has decided to eliminate table games at the casino effective immediately.
The decision comes after longtime struggles with retaining dealers, the casino in La Grange, MO, said in a statement. It plans to ramp up its electronic table games portfolio in response.
Will other casinos follow Mark Twain’s lead?
Some experts warn that other casinos that struggle to find dealers for live table games could make the same decision as the Mark Twain Casino. It could also bolster arguments to make Illinois online casinos legal.
But most signs point to Mark Twain being an anomaly. The casino is by far the smallest casino in Missouri by revenue. In September, it generated just $2.9 million, representing a 7.3% decrease year over year. Additionally, dealer jobs require skilled workers with a lot of training. If a casino experiences a lot of turnover in dealers, it can be hard to sustain a live table game presence.
Tack on the fact that La Grange, Quincy, IL, and the surrounding area isn’t densely populated, and it makes sense that demand was not high enough to justify hiring and training more dealers. So, don’t expect similar closures from other casinos unless they, too, run into issues of retention and revenue dips.
Casino says hiring issues behind decision
In a statement to ABC7 KHQA, the casino said:
“Due to ongoing challenges in hiring and retaining skilled and experienced table game dealers and supervisors, Mark Twain Casino has made the difficult decision to eliminate live table games, impacting a small number of employees. This change has provided Mark Twain with the opportunity to expand our offering of roulette, blackjack, craps and mini baccarat through electronic table games following our substantial investment in a recently renovated gaming floor and team member areas. We value all our employees and have encouraged those impacted to apply for several open positions at the property. We are committed to continuing to enhance our guests’ experience and supporting the local community.”
For Quincy residents who enjoy live table games, the journey to play them just got a lot longer. The closest casino still offering them is Casino Queen in Argosy, a two-hour drive.