Gambling Legislation

Missouri bill could make it more expensive to visit casinos

Missouri bill could make it more expensive to visit casinos

A state lawmaker wants to raise the fees casinos currently pay to the state

Proposed legislation in Missouri seeks to increase the casino admission fee by at least a dollar, with the additional revenue used to subsidize veterans’ nursing homes. While the casinos would be responsible for the fee, it could mean gamblers will end up paying the price.

State Representative Dave Griffith disclosed his plans to the Missouri Veterans Commission on Monday that he’d once again introduce a bill seeking to raise the state admission tax on riverboat casinos from $2, which hasn’t been increased since the state approved riverboat gambling through a 1992 ballot referendum.

Griffith filed previous legislation in the 2021 legislative session, which failed to gain support, and says the state needs increased funding for the seven veterans nursing homes in Missouri and that a $1 increase would raise considerable new revenue.

The entry fee isn’t currently passed off to casino customers but is paid directly to the state. There were 14.7 million patrons at the 13 Missouri riverboat casinos in the fiscal year 2023, which has decreased in recent years since there were over 22.2 million admissions in 2014.

The Missouri Gaming Association opposes Griffith’s proposal, saying the increased fee will result in decreased capital improvement undertakings, less motivation for players and lower staffing levels.

House Bill 556 passed by a 118-35 vote in the lower chamber but was filibustered by state Senator Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), who backs legal sports betting in Missouri. He says gaming expansion must include a regulatory framework for contentious “no-chance” gaming devices typically found in gas stations, convenience stores, bars and restaurants.

Seven veteran’s nursing homes operate in Missouri, with the Veterans Commission saying that adequately staffing the facilities has been difficult, leading to lower bed counts. Since June, news of the push for salary increases for state employees has increased the nursing homes’ bed count by about 14%, according to reports from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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