Former Casino Queen riverboat sold for $600,000

News-DemocratApril 4, 2014 

AP GRAPHICS

The Casino Queen's former riverboat casino that once attracted gamblers to East St. Louis' river front has been sold.

For almost five years, the 411-foot-long, four-story side-wheeler has been sitting at Mike's Inc., a boatyard in Wood River. Boatyard general manager Amy Marko said the riverboat's owner, White Star Line LLC, had initially planned to convert the 19th century replica riverboat into a Titanic museum, but those plans were later scrapped and the boat remained at Mike's Inc.

On Thursday afternoon, it was auctioned and sold for $600,000 to "Peanut" Hollinger, of Paducah, Ky. Marko said the new owner is well-know in the river boating industry but does not know what he plans to do with his new vessel. She is pleased that the former gambling boat will finally be leaving the property.

"It's very difficult to run our business with it there," Marko said.

The riverboat made its maiden voyage on the Mississippi River on June 23, 1993, and was docked along the metro-east river front for 15 years. It was vacated about six years ago for a new $92 million, 207,500-square-foot floating casino that floats atop a pool filled with 12 inches of water where cars once parked on the casino's property. The old riverboat left the East St. Louis riverfront in October 2008 and was transported upriver to the Wood River shipyard.

"Our lawyer says it hopefully will be gone in two weeks," Marko said. "We will be very thankful."

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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