Proposal for Missouri Casino Approved by Narrow Margin

On April 25, 2007, the State Senate of Missouri gave their initial nod of approval to the Missouri casino industry’s long dream, which is removing the $500 loss minimum.

The Bill’s main author, Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields, a Republican from St. Joseph, commented that leaders of the Republican leaders believe that the issue is an urgent matter because the state of Kansas approved gambling in their area this month.

The casino facilities situated in the western part of Missouri will be at a great disadvantage and could lose customers to the gambling casinos in the other states. The Bill obtained the preliminary nod of approval in a bipartisan vote of 17-16 in favor of the proposal; 9 Republicans and 8 Democrats were in favor of the bill.

For final approval of the proposal, a majority of 34 members is needed so supporters should at least hold one more vote. After that, the bill will be given to the House. The proposal will increase the taxes on the casinos and increase the number of gambling licenses that Missouri could give out.

The extra cash, which is estimated to be at $124 million to $160 million, will be used for new college scholarship plans. Sen. Matt Bartle, a Republican from Lee and a gambling critic, led a filibuster on the casino plans, which effectively stalled the vote on the matter and resulted in a 13 hour delay on the decision regarding the matter.

The deadlocked broke on Tuesday when Shields increased the taxes for the casinos. But his proposal clashed with the decision of the other senators, who commented that an increase in the taxes would only discourage casinos from doing business in the state.

The loss minimum is the last of the rules that voters allowed when gambling was approved back in 1992. The casinos have said that the loss minimum is driving gamblers who are considered to be high-rollers, out of the state.

The Missouri Gaming Commission said that the casino profits would increase around $510 million annually if the loss limit rule were removed. It could produce in turn around $110 million for the state government and the county concerned.


06 May, 2007