When people think of casinos in Missouri, what comes to mind more often than not are the many riverboats that traversed the Mississippi River back in the 1800s. Though that thought is not too far off from what the casino industry in the state looks like today, it is safe to say that Missouri and its casino industry have evolved past the 18th century casino standard.
Nowadays, you will find plenty of casinos at which you can play just about every casino game under the sun. As you might expect, the casinos you will find in Missouri are located either around major population centers and/or along the banks of the Mississippi. Though you wouldn’t necessarily expect the middle of the United States to have much of anything in the way of a thriving casino industry, that is exactly what exists in Missouri.
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At this time, the only type of casino that exists in Missouri are riverboat casinos. Though you may be familiar with the images stemming from 18th century photographs, the riverboat casinos that exist in Missouri today are really nothing like the ones that existed back then. As opposed to travelling up and down a river or across lakes, the riverboats that exist today are docked and, for all intents and purposes, no different than the land-based casinos you will find in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. This is able to be the case thanks to a law change in Missouri in 1992.
At these riverboat casinos, the type of environment you will find is no different than you will find at a traditional brick and mortar casino. There are slot games, table games, and all sorts of other casino games are available to be played.
The history of Missouri casinos stretches back to the origins of the state back in the 1800s. Back then, the main way people in the state went about gambling was via the many riverboats that sailed the Mississippi River. Before long, however, these riverboat casinos were outlawed thanks to a takeover of conservative feelings in the state and the region. For the longest of times, the only form of gambling that was available in Missouri was pari-mutuel wagers placed on horse and dog races. The interesting fact about this, however, was that Missouri did not have any officially sanctioned racetracks. This meant that the only pari-mutuel wagering that could take place was on races that occurred during fairs and festivals. This was all fine and good, however these races were far from professional and occurred infrequently.
In the early and mid-1980s, Missouri began loosening their casino laws by allowing real money bingo and then, a few years later, a state lottery. In 1992, the casino landscape of the state began changing quickly and dramatically. In 1992 the state amended the law to allow for legalized casino gambling. A year later, a state gaming commission was created to oversee and regulate the newly created gambling industry.
Ever since the early 1990s, the casino industry in the state has been growing at just about every turn. There are now more than 15 riverboat gambling facilities located throughout the state, however, they are heavily concentrated along the Mississippi River.
As we look forward to the future, the thought is that the only real change to the gaming industry will be the addition of more riverboat casinos. Though there isn’t the largest of Native American populations in the state, there are also some people who believe we will soon see tribal casinos as well. What’s more, there has also been some talk about the legalization and regulation of online casinos. So far those talks have not gotten very far, but with the loosening of laws overall the fact of the matter is that online casino legalization is something that will assuredly be brought up amongst state lawmakers.