Missouri Sports Betting

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Missouri state gambling laws may seem out of place for a state with five major league professional sports teams and other major tourism destinations. Only riverboat casinos along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers are legal here — and none are allowed to offer sports betting. Missouri sports betting has been proposed by state lawmakers and could be passed. 

The 2021 Missouri General Assembly has been busy considering bills that would legalize sports betting, and create new definitions for casino gambling. None have yet passed, but there has been considerable discussion on both issues so far in 2021. 

The legalization debate in Missouri signals what many see as a willingness to expand gambling offerings in a state that’s trying to keep up with today’s growing sports betting and online gambling industry. 

Missouri Sports Betting Updates

  • May 14, 2021 – Regular Session of the Missouri General Assembly ends
  • April 28, 2021 – During State Senate consideration a last-minute proposed amendment caused a delay in voting on the Missouri gaming bill.
  • January 2021 – Senate Bill 98 introduced

History of Missouri Gambling

Missouri has taken steps toward modernizing its gambling laws over the past 20 or so years beginning in 2000 when the state General Assembly passed legislation allowing “continuous boarding” on casinos. Until then, riverboat casinos could only operate while cruising the water. 

Today, Missouri has thirteen riverboat casinos that offer Las Vegas-style games including slots, blackjack, craps, and poker. Casinos are located in St. Louis, Kansas City, and near Joplin. Many are built on barges and moored to land. 

Recent talk has circled around legalized gambling on “nonfloating facilities” located within 1,000 feet of the rivers, with water beneath or “inside” the facility — indicative of a manmade pond and waterfall. That discussion is ongoing. 

Sports betting is also part of the discussion in Missouri, with at least seven bills to legalize sports betting tethered to riverboat casinos filed during the 2021 legislative session. The legal sports betting debate continued in early May. 

What Other Gambling Is Legal In Missouri? 

Missouri also has a state lottery, and allows track-based horse race betting, pari-mutuel wagering, and charitable bingo. 

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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