The race to build a casino at the Lake resembles a well-known card game.

Photo courtesy of Lake Shots Photography

by Nathan Bechtold

The Deal

In 2020, a group of local investors called Osage River Gaming pulled up to the table, announcing their intent to bring a casino the region. And then in October of 2021, the Osage Nation joined the game. Neither group has found the process as facile as they may have expected.

It turns out, getting a casino at Lake of the Ozarks is not unlike a game of Texas Hold Em. In Missouri.

The Bet

Osage River Gaming

In 2020, the group worked with then-State Rep. Rocky Miller to advance a bill that would have allowed a casino on the Osage River downstream of Bagnell Dam. In a 2020 press release, the group wrote, Our polling indicates that if such a measure reaches the voters this fall, it will likely pass. We encourage the legislature, both the House and Senate, to pass HRJ 87.However, the announcement added, In the unfortunate event HJR 87 fails, our group has the appropriate resources and is prepared to circumvent the legislature and undertake a citizensballot initiative for the same purpose. One way or the other, we will prevail.

The whole process, for Osage River Gaming, is a bet that they can win a vote: either the vote of the legislature, or the vote of the majority of Missourians.


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