Lawmakers in Missouri are considering the expansion of gambling in the state, but the local regulator is opposed to it.
US.- Missouri lawmakers are considering a legislative piece that would expand gambling in the state. If passed, HB 423 would become the largest expansion since Missouri established the casino industry in 1994.
The law would allow thousands of new lottery slot machines at retail facilities in the state. Despite establishing the industry in 1994, in 2008 there was another vote that limited the number of land-based facilities within its boundaries to 13.
If approved, the proposal would have significant impact across Missouri’s rural areas. Hundreds of slot machines could be located in convenience stores, restaurants and other type of facilities as well.
However, the Missouri Gaming Association doesn’t feel that this bill would be beneficial for the state. Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association, said: “This irresponsible bill would permit slot machines on every street corner where a restaurant, bar, convenience store or truck stop is located.
“These machines look and play just like slot machines. If this bill passes, we can expect to see them in every city, town or community across the state. Missouri could very quickly have more slot machines outside of casinos than inside them.
“This is not what Missouri voters envisioned when they voted to approve casino wagering in Missouri. Voters were very careful to restrict casinos to certain locations and to limit the number of casinos,” he said.
Furthermore, he added that the proposed regulations, security and oversight are inadequate. As the bill would bypass a vote made by residents, Winter believes that it would not only would violate the voters’ decision, but also the gaming commission, which “establishes and enforces strict gambling regulations in our casinos,” he said.