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Riverboat gambling revenue is bolstering ailing economies in Alton and East St. Louis, and city officials in both towns hope someday that revenue will serve as a catalyst for major riverfront developments.
In Alton, where the Alton Belle Casino is docked, the city has taken in an estimated $15 million in additional tax revenue since the casino opened in September 1991.
Jim Bowman, president of the River Bend Growth Association, said the casino has had a profound impact on economic development in Alton.
"The boat has almost single-handedly bailed the city of Alton out of the severe financial crisis it was in before the casino opened," Bowman said.