Missouri is one of the newest states in the United States to offer gambling within its borders. Due to legal disputes over the years, Missouri has shown extremely slow growth within the gaming industry. Finally, in 1995 Missouri lawmakers approved riverboats as opposed to land-based gambling establishments.
The Missouri Gaming Commission
Riverboat gaming legislation also created the Missouri Gaming Commission to oversee all gambling actions. This new commission absorbed the old Missouri Horse Racing Commission to supervise any racing activities. Ironically horse racing is legal in Missouri; however, there are not any horse tracks.
The Missouri Gaming Commission consists of five board members that serve no more than two staggered terms for three years. The commission members are elected by the Governor and verified by the Senate as a form of checks and balances. The makeup of the Commission is quite similar to other Mississippi River states that offer riverboat gaming.
The Tax Structure
Also similar to other states is the tax structure. The State of Missouri collects a $2 per person admissions tax for each individual that steps onto a gaming vessel. Also, they collect a 20 percent tax on all adjusted gross revenues made by the riverboat operating company.
One Missouri law states that parents of a minor that engages in gambling may recover their losses. This indicates that if a minor lose their parent’s money or property the parent can sue the gaming operator to recover the losses.
Another interesting law is regarding stakeholder liabilities. Missouri law states that each stakeholder that receives money or property is liable to the party that placed the wager, before the transaction. The delivery of money or property to the winner is not a defense in court in the instance where the losing party seeks recovery. After the transaction or bet has been placed, the stakeholder holds no responsibility to the bettor.
Missouri has significantly similar gaming laws as other Mississippi River states that provide riverboat gaming. Missouri has modeled its gambling law structure after modern industry leaders like Iowa, Illinois, and Louisiana, although there are a few differences in the laws and amendments enacted.
In the future perhaps Missouri will add horse racetracks to the state which will expand taxes collected and make the Missouri Gaming Commission larger, with additional responsibility. This will create a whole new group of clientele in which to target horserace gambling.