Missouri Casinos and Gambling
When most people consider Missouri, they probably think of Branson, a tourist mecca filled with arts, crafts, and a variety of musical acts. While the area nestled in the Ozark Mountains certainly does its part to draw in out-of-state revenue, the casinos scattered about Missouri are just as proficient at generating cash for the government’s coffers.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of Missouri casinos and other forms of legal gambling. We’ll break down the options offered by the lottery, as well as providing the names of all licensed gaming establishments. Whether you’re planning a trip to St. Louis or St. Charles, the information provided below should help you learn the best places to gamble within the state.
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Missouri Gambling Laws
Unless it falls under an exemption like casino gambling or the lottery, gambling is illegal within the state of Missouri. If a person knowingly engages in illegal gambling, they are charged with a misdemeanor. The only exception is when a person derives at least 20% of their yearly income from gambling. These individuals are considered professional players, and the crime is then upgraded to a felony.
State Lottery in Missouri
Lottery tickets were first sold in the state in 1986. Revenue initially went to a state fund, but voters approved an amendment that would divert the lottery proceeds to public education in 1992.
Scratch cards can be purchased for as little as $1, and some versions award up to $250,000. You must be at least 18 to buy any type of lottery product.
The following are the types of lottery games currently available in Missouri:
• Lucky for Life – Offers the winner $1,000 per day for the rest of their life.
• Powerball – Drawn twice a week with a starting jackpot of $40 million.
• Mega Millions – Two drawings are held each week, with jackpots starting at $15 million.
• Monopoly Millionaire’s Club – Each ticket costs $5, and jackpots range from $15 million to $25 million.
• Missouri Lotto – Drawn twice a week, with a progressive jackpot that begins at $1 million.
• Show Me Cash – Drawings take place daily, with a jackpot starting at $50,000.
• Pick 3 – Players try to match three numbers in order to win a variety of prizes.
• Pick 4 – Players try to match four numbers in order to win a variety of prizes.
• Club Keno – Prizes vary, but a drawing is held every four minutes.
Casinos in Missouri
Missouri started providing casinos after a 1992 state referendum approved riverboat gambling. These vessels were initially required to cruise the waters for two-hour gaming sessions, and no player could lose more than $500 during this time. These restrictions were eventually modified, and the aquatic gambling dens gave way to permanent structures on the waterfront. The $500 loss limit was done away with in 2008.
The legal age for gambling in a Missouri casino is 21. Those who enjoy complimentary alcoholic beverages may be disappointed, however, as gaming regulations require intoxicants to be sold instead of given away. The casinos also take 4% of any win over $1,200 for the Department of Revenue, although some of this may be recouped if the player fills out a state income tax form.
As of this writing, Missouri has 13 legal casinos spread across 10 cities. Eight of these facilities also include hotel accommodations, and their combined gaming opportunities provide around 20,000 slots, 500 table games, and over 100 poker tables. The size of a wager typically ranges from a single penny to as much as $5,000.
In this section, we’ll look at the various casinos located in Missouri. All of these fall into the category of commercial casinos, although the state does allow for tribal gaming.
• Ameristar Casino/Hotel Kansas City – Over 2,500 slots, about 60 table games, and 15 poker tables.
• Ameristar Casino/Resort/Spa St. Charles – Over 2,500 slots, 60 table games, and around 20 poker tables.
• Argosy Casino/Hotel & Spa – More than 1,500 slots and 30 table games.
• Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino & Hotel – More than 1,500 slots, around 46 table games, and 15 poker tables.
• Hollywood Casino St. Louis – Over 2,200 slot machines, 60 table games, and 20 poker tables.
• Isle Casino Cape Girardeau – Over 900 slots, 20 table games, and around 10 poker tables.
• Isle of Capri Casino/Hotel Boonville – Over 900 slots and around 20 table games.
• Isle of Capri Casino Kansas City – Over 1,150 slots and more than 20 table games.
• Lady Luck Casino Caruthersville – Around 550 slots, 11 table games, and 4 poker tables.
• Lumiere Place Casino & Hotels – Includes 2,000 slots, 55 table games, and around a dozen poker tables.
• Mark Twain Casino – Around 650 slots and 13 table games.
• River City Casino – Over 2,100 slot machines, 55 table games, and 15 poker tables.
• St. Jo Frontier Casino – More than 560 slots and around a dozen table games.
Racetracks and Pari-Mutuel Betting in Missouri
While the Show Me State seems to have no problem with casino games and state lotteries, it takes a less welcoming view of horse and dog racing. From St. Louis to Branson, you won’t find a single legal racetrack. The same applies to off-track facilities, so anyone craving the thrill of a race and the excitement of pari-mutuel wagering needs to look outside the state.
Owning a Slot Machine in Missouri
Residents of Missouri can legally own a slot machine for personal use as long as it’s more than 30 years old. While the owner is able to operate the device for entertainment purposes, it cannot be used to generate a profit. This would qualify the machine as an illegal gambling device, which would make it subject to possible seizure and destruction by the state.
Missouri may not have allowed casinos in their state until 1992, but they’ve since helped foster a respectable culture of gambling within their borders. Over a dozen land-based casinos are available, and the state lottery is ever-present in convenience stores and other licensed retailers. The only major drawback comes for fans of horseracing, as the state doesn’t allow betting on such events.