Also known as the “show me state”, Missouri is situated in the Mid-Western region of the United States. With around 6.2 million residents, the state is the 18th most populous in the United States. Jefferson City is the state’s capital, however, some other (more popular) cities include Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, and St. Louis. Missouri was admitted into the Union in the year 1821, making it the 24th state to do so.
Missouri shares borders on all sides with eight states namely: Illinois, Tennessee, and Kentucky to the east, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma to the west, Arkansas to the south, and Iowa to the north. At around $54,000, Missouri’s statewide median household income average puts it at 37th position in the United States.
The Ozarks, a forested highland in the southern part of the state, is a hub of timber and mineral mining. Also, it serves as a popular tourist hotspot with its vast woods and beautiful lakes, creeks, and other water bodies.
Aside from the aforementioned, Missouri’s alcohol laws are some of the most lax in the United States, making it suitable for large-scale alcohol production. In that regard, Anheuser-Busch, the largest beer producer in the world, is headquartered in St. Loui, Missouri. This, alongside the previously mentioned facts, adds to the recreational appeal of the state.
Early History of Gambling in Missouri
Unlike other American states whose histories are littered with gambling and betting as part of the entertainment, Missouri’s gambling history is relatively recent.
The first time the state’s lawmakers opened it up for legalized gambling was in 1980, with the legislature passing the Charitable Gambling bill. This new bill allowed establishments like bingo halls and raffles to operate in the state. This was followed, in 1986, with the adoption of a state lottery.
Following the adoption of these two laws, the speed with which Missouri expanded its gambling horizons picked up exponentially. Finally, in 1992, gambling on games like slots and poker became legal on riverboats, on account of the state’s new gaming law.
This gaming law underwent multiple revisions and modifications, increasing its scope and clarifying its underlying language. This new version allowed casino operators to offer table games, poker, blackjack, and other “games of chance”. in 1998, another amendment allowed potential entrants into the industry the leeway to create man-made moats or ponds as these qualified as “riverboat” play.
Many establishments blatantly exploit this loophole, filling out the surrounding of regular buildings with embellishments such as fake smokestacks. Usually, these buildings rest on shallow bodies of water and, as such, qualify as riverboats according to the law. Lawmakers in the state, clearly aware of what is going on, aren’t too eager to change the law mostly for fear of what it may do to Missouri’s economy.
The Current State of Gambling and Poker in Missouri
Currently, Missouri has 13 registered riverboat casinos operating legally in the state. Kansas City has the most with three, St. Louis has two, and other cities like La Grange, Boonville, Maryland Heights, and St. Joseph each have one.
These casinos offer a wide variety of casino games including craps, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker, slots, pai gow tiles, Mississippi stud poker, Texas Hold’em, and more. Missouri casinos, because of the booming tourism sector, are now one of the most sought-after for vacationing gamblers and state residents alike.
Despite a slight slump in casino revenues in Missouri in 2017, further investments geared towards streamlining the gambling experience and building more resorts and casinos have already begun to show ample results.
Missouri’s minimum age for casino gambling is 21. However, residents aged 18 and over can play the lottery, and those over 16 can play bingo.
Ironically, in-person sports betting of any kind is not permitted in the state. The legalization of the activity has been proposed to Missouri’s legislature as a potential revenue booster. However, the Missouri Gaming Commission and Missouri Lottery Commission are at loggerheads regarding which body would administer sports betting in the state. This, among many other hurdles, has kept any sports betting legalization bill from passing.
Online Poker Gambling
Legally, online gambling activities of any kind (including poker) in Missouri exists in something of a gray area. Like many other states, Missouri’s constitution does not expressly clarify the legal status of online gambling.
On the other hand, Missourians can and regularly access other betting sites that are either offshore or based in other American cities. Because the online betting landscape is so uncertain, however, law enforcement crackdowns on online bettors are a possibility at any time. As such, you would be wise to tread with some caution.
The state allows casinos to operate online versions of some games like slots, although crucially, players can’t use real cash to play these games. Basically, the neutered online experience is for promotional purposes, as people get a sneak peek of what to expect at the physical location.
Websites for Online Poker Gambling in Missouri
Here are some sites that accept bets from Missourians:
- BetOnline Poker
- Intertops Poker
- Americas Cardroom
- Bovada Poker
- Ignition Poker
- BlackChip Poker
All things considered, Missouri is a great place to explore your inner gambler. If you can look past the slight access restrictions that come with online gambling in the state, you’ll find that all of the popular features that are available to gamblers from other states in the U.S are also made available to Missourians as well.