Missouri is home to around six million residents and comes in at number 18 in terms of the largest population. Missouri was the 24th state to join the union in 1821 and is home to roughly twenty land-based casinos, where they have many different kinds of gambling.

Gambling in Missouri is closely associated with its geography. Both the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers define the state and it’s gambling, as the casino scenario of this state is based on their rivers and their riverboat casinos.

There are 13 riverboats along the Missouri and Mississippi, but also in the middle of the cities, something allowed by law. One of the reasons for this to happen is that the decline in the casino industry is a concern for those who make the gambling-related decisions in Missouri.

Similarly to what happens in another state, also in Missouri is not entirely clear if online gambling is or not legal, so it exists in a gray area. The population from Missouri can gamble online but on offshore sites. The specific riverboat laws can, at any time, be applied to online gambling and make it forbidden, so it’s a risky situation.

Casino History in Missouri

1980 was the year when legal gambling was introduced in Missouri, at the hands of charitable gambling, a step that enabled the existence of raffles and bingo halls across the state. Later in 1986, the population was called to vote and 70% approved the adoption of the state lottery, increasing the number of legal gambling.

With the increase in gaming popularity, it was with no surprise that riverboat gaming was also approved in 1992. This law was, at first, considered improper what would require changing the state constitution and lead to 1994 the Riverboat Gambling Amendment, approved with 54% votes in the referendum.

This 1994 amendment was important because it made legal for operators to offer Slots, Table Games and Poker, among other games. This law had another amendment in 1998 allowing the creation of artificial moats and ponds for the odd “riverboat buildings” that rested, many times, in a shallow pool.

Benefiting from this 1998 legislation, Missouri has 13 riverboat casinos, some of them in the middle of cities, a strange known fact for all the gambling community, including operators and lawmakers, and that defines the Missouri gambling scene.

Types of Gambling Found in Missouri

In the United States, the lottery is one of the most common types of gambling found. In fact, 36 of the 50 states feature some form of lottery. Missouri is one of those states that offers several different games for players in the 18 and over category. Here you can find several choices from Mega Millions, Pick 3, Lotto, Powerball and Show me cash. Another form of gambling that is often found is the land-based casinos. Some of these will be luxurious resort-style accommodations where players can stay and play. The other type of gaming here is the riverboat casino which is found near St. Charles. Players will need to be 21 or over to participate in this type of gambling. Parimutuel betting is a big hit here. Players have racetracks throughout the state for players who are 18 and over. Parimutuel betting is one of the oldest legalized gambling types and it is offered in 43 states.

Casino Locations and Numbers

Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri and is the home of four casinos, two within the city limits and another two in the suburban areas, the exact same count we have in the second largest city, St. Louis. Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Isle of Capri Boonville also have casinos.

Pinnacle Entertainment is the main casino operator in Missouri, owning the Ameristar Casino in Kansas, with over 140,000 square feet and over 2.000 slot machines, but also the Ameristar from St. Louis, a little smaller with 130,000 square feet and 19 table poker rooms.

The gambling revenue from 2017 shows a reduction of 2.5% when compared to 2016, and the contribution from this revenue to education – one of the main reasons why gambling is being legalized across the country – doesn’t seem to be meaningful, contradicting the existing ideas that the education in the state is associated with gambling fortunes.

Casinos in Missouri are here to stay and plans to open new casinos, namely in St. Joseph, do exist, making this 11th largest casino market in the US to continue to entertain residents and visitors.

Curiosity: To be a Professional Player in Missouri is illegal, so winning over 20% of their income from gambling is considered a crime. What implications would that have if a Missouri resident scores a big win?