Gambling in Missouri goes way back to the 1750s when Horse Racing was introduced. There were 20 racetracks in St. Louis by the 1800s. Bets were accepted by the help of grey area bookmaking methods. It was in 1905 when Horse Racing was declared illegal.
During the 1800s there were casinos in Missouri operating on riverboats which were a part of the waterside communities. In spite of being illegal, these riverboats casino operated for a long time as they escaped the radar of the legal authorities.
Horse Racing was re-introduced in 1984. During the early years, the race tracks struggled a lot. The state did permit off-track betting during the days when no live races were going on. The intention behind this was to encourage live racing, but the effect it had was the opposite. Once the casinos were legalized in 1994, the horse racing industry collapsed due to the inability of the state to provide subsidies to the tracks with simulcast betting revenue.
The year horse racing was revived, voters also endorsed a constitutional amendment to set up a state lottery. The Missouri Lottery is allowed to host chance-based betting games such as lotto drawing, keno, and instant games.
Riverboat casinos were legally approved in 1992. The first Missouri casino that opened on a boat, The President Casino, has been operating in the Mississippi River from 1907. It was around the same time, in 1994, Casino St. Charles became operative. These casinos charged admission fees, which was usually between 2 dollars to 5 dollars, based on the day of the week. Missouri Casinos were allowed to remain open between 10 am to 1 am. During a two-hour cruise, players were not allowed to lose more than 500 dollars. The cruise period began as soon as the anchor was lifted. The 500 dollar loss limit led to unusual activities such as players selling chips in restrooms and poker players stockpiling chips to play at the games that had higher limits. Finally, in 2008, a referendum passed statewide took away this 500 dollar loss limit.
Riverboat Casinos today are open 24 hours a day. There are no restrictions on the games available at these casinos. Players have access to video poker, slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, Four Card Poker, Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Pai Gow Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and many more games.
Sports Betting in Missouri
Over the past few years, the state of Missouri has introduced several bills that have been trying to endorse and legalize sports betting. Before the Supreme Court issued the decision to end the sports betting ban that was nationally applicable, the state had passed two bills related to sports betting in 2018. Another bill was introduced the year after.
The latest development occurred in January 2019 with the introduction of a pair of bills. One of the bill’s objective was to permit the state’s casinos to provide mobile betting and in-person betting by paying a license fee of $10,000, an administrative fee of 2 percent and a tax rate of 12 percent. The bill SB 44 contains an integrity fee of 0.5 percent applicable to the total betting handle. Another similar bill, SB 222, was introduced – this one had no integrity fees and had a lower tax rate of 6.75 percent.
2018 also saw the introduction of two sports betting bills contingent on the Supreme Court overturning PASPA. The first bill (SB 767) was introduced in January of 2018. This bill’s original intent was to allow video lottery machines to be installed in specific locations outside of casinos, but lawmakers later added language to the bill allowing casinos to conduct sports betting.
Two sports betting bills contingent on the Supreme Court overturning PASPA were also introduced in 2018. Bill SB 767, introduced in January 2018, originally intended to permit video lottery machines to be set up in locations outside the casinos. This became a cause of concern for the existing casinos, so the bill was amended to include permission for casinos to offer sports betting. Another bill, SB 1013, had a controversial integrity fee of 1 percent applicable on the total betting handle which was to be a donation to professional sports organizations.
Missouri Gambling Laws
Racing in Missouri is legal. However, off-track betting can only be carried out on days when there is a live race. Although the racing activity is legal, there is no legal way to bet on a horse race.
It is a Class C misdemeanor according to State Laws to engage in a gambling activity outside the registered facilities. The law has been stated clearly under Section 527.020 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. State laws consider it a Class C misdemeanor to participate in gambling as a player outside of licensed facilities, which results in jail time up to 15 days. If professional players commit the activity, it becomes a class D felony which can amount to four years of jail time. If a person knowingly commits gambling activities with a minor, the crime will be considered as a class B felony.
Missouri’s gambling laws allow several forms of legalized gambling. The state must license all gambling establishments. This includes registered charities. A charity may provide bingo and raffle sheets if spread by a religious, or veterans organization. The charity must have been there for at least two years before covering these games. Professional gamblers are barred from gambling charity games.
Charities can register themselves as gambling establishments. If it is a fraternal, veterans or religious organization, the charity may offer raffles and bingo. To host these games, the charity must have been operational for at least two years. Professional gamblers cannot participate in charity games.
The two forms of online betting legal in Missouri are Fantasy Sports and Skill Games since they are not classified as a gambling activity according to the law. The gambling laws applicable to other gambling activities aren’t relevant here. Websites offering Fantasy Sports are FanDuel and DraftKings. WorldWinner is a website that provides Skill Games.
The State Lottery in Missouri hosts many engaging gambling activities. Players can procure scratch cards and lotto tickets from retail stores. They include interstate drawings such as Powerball and Mega Millions. A Club Keno is also operational in Missouri. The tickets to these events are sold at pool halls, bars, and bowling alleys. Drawings are held frequently, one in every four minutes.
The Riverboat casinos are the main attraction as far as gambling in Missouri is concerned. The State Lottery also has several exciting gambling opportunities for enthusiastic players.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Missouri?
The only two forms of online gambling legal in Missouri are Skill Games and Fantasy Sports.
Is Sports Betting Legal in Missouri?
No, Sports Betting is currently not offered in the state of Missouri but bills are in place to allow casinos and licensed operators to begin offering such services.
What is The Minimum Gambling Age in Missouri?
The minimum Missouri gambling age is 16 years for raffles and bingo. It is 18 years for Horse Racing and the Missouri Lottery. Players must be 21 years of age to play at the casinos in Missouri.
How Many Casinos are in Missouri?
Currently, there are 13 operational casinos in Missouri.
When Will Missouri Legalize Sports Betting?
Missouri legislators already have plans to pass a sports betting bill that would start allowing casinos to offer sports betting.