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Missouri lawmakers will soon consider a major expansion of gambling through HB 423. The legislation will allow the Missouri casino industry its largest gambling expansion since its inception in 1994, allowing thousands of new lottery slot machines in retail stores across the state.

“This irresponsible bill would allow slot machines on every street corner where restaurants, bars, convenience stores, or truck stops are located,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Game Association. “These machines will look and play like slot machines. If this bill is passed, we can expect to see slot machines in every city, town, or community across the state. Missouri may very quickly have more slot machines outside of its casinos than inside them.”

“This is not what Missouri voters envisioned when they voted to approve casino betting in Missouri,” Winter said. “Voters were very careful about limiting casinos to certain places and limiting the number of casinos.”

The bill would circumvent a vote by Missouri residents, who first approved casinos in 1994 and then voted to limit the number to 13 in 2008. If passed, the proposed expansion of gambling is expected to severely affect rural areas across the state. The same cities and towns that oppose casinos in their communities may suddenly see hundreds of slot machines in family restaurants, convenience stores, and other retail stores.

According to Winter, the bill’s sponsors try to characterize it as a compromise or regulation bill. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “If legislatures are really concerned about illegal gambling machines, they should consider SB 431 addressing those concerns.”

HB 423 will ban people under the age of 21 from playing lottery machines, but monitoring will be minimal compared to the strict rules regulating casinos. Busy retailers with machines on their premises will be solely responsible for monitoring their use.

“The proposed regulations, security and oversight are simply inadequate,” Winter said. “This gambling expansion will detour not only our state’s voters but also our strong gaming commission, which establishes and enforces strict gambling regulations in casinos.”

Missouri Casino and the Missouri Game Association offer a full range of programs to encourage responsible gaming and help people with gambling problems. Retailers hosting lottery stands will not need to offer similar responsible gaming training. 파워볼게임



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