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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Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City
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Missouri is well known for its riverboat casinos, but gambling on the Mississippi River isn’t the only option available to local real money gaming enthusiasts. The Show Me State offers land-based tribal gambling establishments, charity gambling events, and a state-run lottery.
Unfortunately, with no racetracks around, pari-mutuel betting isn’t available in Missouri. It’s worth pointing out that iGaming sites are fairly popular among the local gamblers despite the fact that Missouri doesn’t have a regulated online gambling market like Nevada or New Jersey.
In 1994, an amendment to the Missouri state constitution found in Chapter 313 of the Missouri revised statutes was added, permitting most forms of gambling on games of chance, but only on licensed boats floating within 1,000 feet of an approved river. Since then, gambling has generated nearly $2 billion in revenue for Missouri.
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.
Most of Missouri’s larger boat casinos dock near a hotel or other hospitality service. Here are some of the state’s most sizeable casino/hotel combinations:
With such a spread of casinos across the state, Missouri gamblers don’t need to seek offshore options. However, those who enjoy the convenience of online gaming can use our list of recommended online casinos.
Online blackjack, video poker, and other table games are available in Missouri as well.
In January 2012, Missouri representative Bart Korman put into motion a bill (HB 2320) which would allow any riverboat casino that already holds a gambling license to legally accept sports bets. Despite several legislative hearings, the proposal has yet to advance beyond the committee stage. Two other bills have also been floating around Missouri legislation buildings but have yet to create results.
The future of sports betting in Missouri remains foggy as there is no uniform public opinion. It’s possible that the state will legalize sports gambling soon, although the process may prove challenging.
The state of Missouri doesn’t differentiate between electronic sports (eSports) and traditional gambling. As a result, eSports betting is currently illegal.
In 2016, Missouri passed a bill regulating daily fantasy sports (DFS) gambling. This regulation states that fantasy sports gambling is exempt from Missouri gambling laws, thereby legalizing DFS gambling.
Popular online operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel can be accessed while in the state of Missouri.
Missouri players may gamble on horse racing and pari-mutuel betting, but only on international or interstate horse races with legal simulcasts. All types of off-track horse race wagering are illegal. There are currently no race tracks for horses in the state.
Although Missouri’s gambling laws do not explicitly address dog racing, there are no dog racing tracks or establishments where players can watch simulcasts.
Players may legally play poker in their own home or on the casino boats. While the majority of casinos offer live poker tables, the most extensive selection can be found on the Ameristar casino boats. The River City Casino and Hollywood Casino in Saint Louis also feature an impressive collection of poker tables.
In 1984, Amendment 5 was added to the Missouri state constitution, removing the state ban on lotteries and effectively legalizing them. Players must be over the age of 18 to claim a multi-state or Missouri state lottery prize. Any winnings must be withdrawn in 180 days; otherwise, they are considered forfeit.
Missouri residents have access to some of the most popular multi-state lotteries, such as:
Missouri also hosts its own state lotto, various forms of scratch cards, and keno clubs.
Players claim around 65% of the lottery pool, 25% goes to the state in the form of taxes, and the remaining winnings are given to the lottery’s operators. Most taxes from lottery wins are allocated to public education programs.
Missouri enforces something called the Missouri Sunshine Law, which requires lottery winners and everyone involved to disclose their names to the public. Citizens may also make a “sunshine request” to access more information about lottery winners.
Hosting games of Bingo or any other charitable gambling event is complicated in Missouri. The state legislation lays out an obtuse series of steps that an organization must follow for the games to be legal. The main takeaway is that Bingo is legal and can be found in a variety of Bingo halls throughout the state.
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.
Anybody caught engaging in illegal gambling is charged with a misdemeanor. If 20% or more of an individual’s income stems from gambling, they are considered a professional gambler by the state and charged with a felony.
All forms of bookmaking are illegal in the state of Missouri. Individuals must be at least 21 years of age to gamble legally. Casinos are not allowed to give away liquor, but alcohol can still be bought on their premises. Missouri’s Department of Revenue can claim up to 4% of gambling wins that exceed $1,200.
Players may own and operate slot machines within their private residence for entertainment purposes if the slot machine is 30 or more years old and no profit is generated.