A Brief History of Online Gambling in Missouri

(STL.News) There’s a long history behind gambling practices in Missouri.  The state had riverboat casinos in the 19 century when that practice was popular across the country.  It reintroduced the gambling industry in 1992 this time not with boats but with online games.

Here we will explain the legal background of gambling in Missouri and explain how the current laws affect the players.  We will also try to give an overview of what the future of gambling in the state may be.

The Early Days

The history of gambling in Missouri starts with gambling on boats in the late 19th century. However, this practice died out across the country by the early 20th century.  After that most of the gambling took part underground as was the case in the rest of the US.

During this time betting on horse racing was allowed but there was nowhere for racehorses in Missouri which is why the practice never took off.  This was the case until the 1980s when gambling was reintroduced to the state, via charity Bingo.

The State Lottery in the 1980s

The state lottery was established in 1980.  The goal of this institution was to organize lotteries and Bingo games that are run for charitable purposes. In 1986 the first draw was made on the current State lottery and in that time it included the games such as PowerBall which was a state-run gambling game.

In 1992 the industry was already much larger than it was when the State Lottery was set up. The main event was the return of the boats that were for so long associated with the gambling in the state.  These boats were in many cases complex and lavish casinos on water.

Eccentricities of Local Gambling Laws

Since there’s a lot that’s unique about the state gambling practices, there’s also a lot that’s unique about its laws.  This includes the fact that poker was always allowed in a social setting as a private game played by individuals.  The complicated part was proving what makes the game “social”.

It’s also strange that it’s not allowed to be a professional gambler in Missouri.  The state regulates that those who make 20 percent or more of their income via gambling are professional gamblers and they need to lower that amount or face repercussions.

The Industry After 1994

In 1994 there was a push to expand the gambling industry in Missouri.  This was mostly done by the casinos themselves since the industry pushed for the additional games to be added to the list of allowed gambling games in the state.  These included: baccarat, blackjack, poker, roulette, and slot machines.  This pretty much covers most games that were popular and widely played at the time.

After that, the state took legal action against those who tried to sell lottery tickets online as well as against those who have run online casinos that are based in the offshore zone and operate in Missouri.

Additional Changes to The Law

In the 2000s there have been a few additional changes to the laws to accommodate the changes in the industry.  This included the raising of taxes for the industry since it became larger and more lucrative in recent years.  The state has also limited the number of casinos that are allowed to operate.

Missouri has also changed the laws that regulate casino loss limits, and now there’s no such limit. It has also established an educational fund that’s funded by the profits from the casino operating in the state.  This has been a practice since 2008. Additionally, the state has allowed daily fantasy sports since 2016.

Online gambling

Online gambling isn’t allowed in Missouri. However, it’s also not directly banned in the state which means that the practice currently exists in a gray area where it’s not actually allowed but it’s not permitted either.

The state has never prosecuted anyone for gambling online.  This includes gambling on the phone and by using a computer.  This is taken by most to mean that online gambling is pretty much allowed in Missouri given how permissive the gambling culture is in the state.  However, this can change since the area isn’t covered by any laws.

Will the State Legalize Online Gambling?

At this point, this isn’t an easy question to answer.  Some states that are similar to Missouri in terms of their gambling history and approach to gambling have done so.  This includes Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey.

Since Missouri is close to these states it makes sense that it will do the same.  Illinois and Iowa have considered the same thing but the proposition didn’t pass.  All things considered, it’s easy to assume that Missouri won’t change its laws soon since things are working as is so far and there’s no serious political push to do so.

To Sum Up

Gambling has a long history of gambling.  It started with the gambling boats in the 19th century and it took a while until that practice came back in a modern 20th-century environment.  There’s a state gambling commission and a part of the proceeds from gambling are legally obligated to go towards education.

Online gambling is in a grey area in Missouri since it’s not technically legal and there’s no move towards legalizing it but no one has ever been prosecuted for it.  Fantasy sports have been legal in Missouri since 2016.