International edition
May 13, 2021

The bill, which would have allowed sports betting at the state's 13 casinos, could be revived

Missouri Senate overturns gambling expansion and regulation initiative

Missouri Senate overturns gambling expansion and regulation initiative
The bill is one of the most heavily lobbied of the session and it is also being lobbied by representatives of the companies that own the machines some prosecutors are targeting.
United States | 04/30/2021

Senators voted Tuesday against the bill that would have authorized up to 10,000 video game terminals in bars, truck stops, fraternal and veterans' organizations. It could have been the legislative session´s last chance to address the proliferation of non-controlled devices that provide cash awards to players before May 14 adjournment.

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n Tuesday, the Missouri Senate defeated a three-pronged effort to expand gambling in the state by abolishing non-controlled devices which provide cash awards to players.

According to The Fulton Sun, the vote which defeated the bill may have been this legislative session´s last chance to address the proliferation of devices, which some prosecutors have attacked as illegal and that others have refused to file charges over.

State Senador Denny Hoskins, in a statement released Wednesday afternoon, said: "I am disappointed Senate Bill 98 reached an impasse on the Senate floor last night."

Prospects for action before lawmakers adjourn on May 14 are fading, but the bill could be revived. While similar bills in the House have yet to receive a hearing, the biggest push for new gambling regulations has been in the Senate.

The bill debated Tuesday would have:

  • Authorized up to 10,000 video game terminals in bars and truck stops as well as for fraternal and veterans' organizations. No location could have more than five machines.
  • Allowed the Missouri Gaming Commission to license the state's 13 casinos to offer sports wagering.
  • Revised laws on illegal gambling to remove any uncertainty about the legality of what is called "gray market" machines.
  • Taxes on the video terminals and sports wagering would have brought in an estimated $200 million annually for education programs.
  • The push toward passage unraveled after the Senate approved an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, to send the bill to a public vote.

The number of video machines offering payoffs of hundreds or thousands of dollars in convenience stores and other retail locations is estimated in a range from 14,000-20,000.

The bill is one of the most heavily lobbied of the session and it is also being lobbied by representatives of the companies that own the machines some prosecutors are targeting.

The legislation to remove any ambiguities in state law is a top priority of Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan. The machines arrive with stickers on them declaring they do not violate state gambling laws and convenience store owners are reaping large profits.

The retailers would have ten days to remove the machines once they are notified that they are operating illegal gambling devices in line with Hoskins' bill.

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