Historically speaking, gambling in Missouri has always been all about horse racing and riverboat casinos. Throughout the 19th century, these industries were allowed to operate without regulation. The authorities stopped turning a blind eye to all of the action in 1905, and they criminalized all bookmaking operations.
Legal gambling was re-introduced to the state in 1984 when Missouri legalized horse racing and established an official lottery. Riverboat casinos were approved in 1992. Unfortunately, as the casinos gained popularity, the horse racing scene deteriorated. The local racetracks eventually stopped hosting live races, and pari-mutuel betting disappeared from the state.
Table of Contents
Missouri Gambling Law Summary
Missouri Revised Statutes define gambling as “staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or future contingent event.” While this definition was drafted before the advent of online gambling, it is generic enough to cover most activities of this kind. Furthermore, since Missouri lawmakers have not passed any iGaming regulations yet, local businesses are prohibited from operating any gambling sites under the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Engaging in illegal gambling as a player is considered a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $750 and up to fifteen days in jail. The penalty for professional gamblers is more severe and may include a fine of up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail. Home games are legal as long as there is no rake or other fees.
Most gambling-related matters are covered in Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 572.010 et seq. and 313.001 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 16 for charity games, 18 for lottery and pari-mutuel betting, and 21 for casino-style games.
Online Gambling in Missouri
As is often the case in the United States, Missouri law is very complicated and ambiguous when it comes to gambling. Section 572 of the Missouri code prohibits participating in unlicensed games of chance hosted within the borders of the state, except social gaming. However, the law doesn’t even mention internet games of chance, and the state never tried bringing misdemeanor charges of this kind against an online gambler, so many experts believe that playing on offshore sites is perfectly legal.
There are no traditional brick-and-mortar casinos in Missouri, but the state has a healthy riverboat casino industry. In total, 13 casinos are operating in various locations across the state. These casinos are Ameristar Casino Resort (St. Charles), Ameristar Casino Hotel (Kansas City), Argosy Casino Hotel and Spa (Riverside), Harrah’s North (Kansas City), Hollywood Casino St. Louis (Maryland Heights), Isle of Capri Casino Hotel (Boonville), Isle Casino Cape Girardeau (Cape Girardeau), Isle of Capri Casino Hotel (Kansas City), Lady Luck Casino (Caruthersville), Lumiere Place (St. Louis), Mark Twain Casino (La Grange), River City Casino and Hotel (St. Louis), and St. Jo Frontier Casino (St. Joseph). Missouri regulations are not very restrictive when it comes to games, so all of the local riverboat casinos offer slots and a wide range of table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette, and casino poker.
Missouri does not have a regulated online casino industry. Playing over the internet is prohibited and is likely to be classified as a Class C or Class A misdemeanor.
Six Missouri riverboat casinos offer competitive poker. These casinos are Ameristar Kansas City, Ameristar St. Charles, Harrah’s North Kansas City, Hollywood Casino St. Louis, Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, and Lumiere Place in St. Louis. Except for Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, which operates only four tables, most of these casinos are capable of running at least ten games at any given time. Tournaments are usually hosted on a bi-weekly basis, and most of the action is all about No-Limit Hold ’em.
Missouri does not have any online poker regulations. Engaging in online play for money within state lines is illegal and constitutes a Class C or Class A misdemeanor, depending on the amount of money involved.
Missouri Sports Betting
Horse race betting was legalized in 1984. Unfortunately, Missouri regulations require all bets to be taken on racing days, and none of the local racetracks host live races anymore. These restrictions also apply to off-track betting facilities and online OTB platforms, such as TwinSpires and XpressBet. As a result, while theoretically legal, horse race betting is currently unavailable to Missouri residents.
Sports betting is still illegal, but this is likely to change over the next few years. In 2018, the local lawmakers introduced six new sports betting bills. Three of those bills were presented in the House (HB 2320, HB 2406, HB 2535), and three were proposed in the Senate (SB 767, SB 1009, SB 1013). None of the proposals have made it very far, as the legislators seem to be somewhat divided when it comes to integrity fees. As proposed by Sen. Denny Hoskins, these fees would take the form of quarterly payments to professional sports leagues. This ongoing issue makes it unlikely any bill will reach the Governor’s desk in the foreseeable future.
Missouri Daily Fantasy Sports
Missouri enacted a DFS bill in June 2016. The new legislation puts DFS platforms under the purview of the Missouri Gaming Commission. It obligates all Missouri-facing operators to pay an annual licensing fee and to undergo a yearly audit. There have been two attempts to update the bill in 2017 and 2018, but the proposals have not gained any traction in the House.
As it stands, Missouri residents are free to participate in paid-entry DFS contests on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Yahoo has not applied for a Missouri license, so its DFS service is not available in the Show-Me State.
Missouri Lottery offers a wide range of draw games, including multi-state lotteries such as Powerball, Mega Millions, and Lucky for Life. The lottery is also authorized to operate scratchers, keno (with drawings every 4 minutes), and pull-tabs. Missouri Lottery does not offer sales over the internet, so all tickets must be purchased from land-based retailers.
Missouri Bingo Laws
Bingo is legal in Missouri as long as registered charities offer it. During the 2018 midterm elections, Missouri residents voted to decrease the waiting period before a charity can manage a bingo game from two years to six months. The constitutional ban on advertising bingo games was also removed. Unfortunately, Missouri does not have a regulated online bingo market, and playing on offshore sites could be classified as illegal gambling.
Missouri Online Gambling FAQ
What types of gambling are available in Missouri?
Missouri is best known among gambling enthusiasts for its riverboat casinos, but the state also operates its own lottery and has a few Indian casinos. Unfortunately, there are no racetracks in Missouri, so the locals can’t engage in pari-mutuel betting. Intrastate online gambling hasn’t been regulated, so Missouri businesses aren’t allowed to operate any iGaming sites.
What laws cover online gambling in Missouri?
Most forms of real money gambling are regulated by Section 572 of the Missouri code. It’s worth remembering that even though none of those regulations refer to online gambling directly, the local law enforcement officials could argue that some of them extend to internet games. Fortunately, this has never been the case in the past, which allows us to conclude that getting some poker or casino action online is perfectly safe for Missouri residents.
Is real money online gambling legal in Missouri?
The legal status of online gambling might be considered a little ambiguous. However, there are no regulations explicitly prohibiting Missouri residents from playing real money games online, and the state doesn’t seem to be interested in discouraging the local gambling enthusiasts from using offshore iGaming platforms.
Which offshore gambling sites accept Missouri residents?
Although Missouri doesn’t have clear-cut gambling laws, most sites have absolutely no qualms about accepting Missouri residents.
What are the most popular banking options supported by Missouri -facing sites?
The deposit method we recommend for Missouri -based gamblers is to use a Visa credit or debit card. Please note that offshore sites don’t support domestic-only cards, so you’ll have to make sure that your card has been cleared for international transactions. When it comes to withdrawing your winnings, we recommend sticking to bank wire transfers.
Does Missouri offer any intrastate online gambling?
No. Unlike New Jersey and Nevada, Missouri is yet to establish a local real money internet gaming market. People in Missouri don’t have any local iGaming services to pick from.
Is it likely for Missouri to regulate online gambling?
Missouri isn’t likely to become one of the pioneers of online gambling, but the local legislators guaranteed to regulate online gambling if more states decide to go in Nevada’s footsteps by opening their own local iGaming markets.