Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated June 20, 2016
State laws govern whether gambling is legal and, if so, which types of gambling are allowed and under which terms and restrictions. Only a handful of states allowed casino-style gambling for much of the 20th century, including Nevada and New Jersey. That changed after Native Americans established the right to operate casinos on reservations, which let to a general loosening of gambling laws in many states.
While Missouri has just one Indian casino, the state narrowly passed a constitutional amendment in 1994 (through a ballot initiative) allowing riverboat gambling. On the ballot, the question to voters was as follows:
“Shall the General Assembly be authorized to permit only upon the Mississippi River and the Missouri River lotteries, gift enterprises, and games of chance to be conducted on excursion gambling boats and floating facilities?”
Louisiana and Illinois also allow gambling on riverboats. According to Missouri constitutional law, riverboat gambling is allowed on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers (but boats in artificial moats, within 1000 feet of an approved river, are allowed).
The law doesn’t specify whether dog racing is legal, but there are no dog racing tracks in the state. However, betting on licensed horse racing (at the track) is legal. Additionally, bingo games sponsored by charitable organizations is allowed. The state also operates an official lottery, which — along with casinos — is intended to fund public education programs.
Information about Missouri gambling laws is listed in the following chart, with links to additional articles and resources.
|Code Section||572.010 et seq.; 313.001 et seq.|
|Gambling||Staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or future contingent event.|
|Horse Racing/Off-Track Betting||Horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering on international or interstate horse race simulcasts legal. Off-track wagering illegal.|
|Dog Racing/Off-Track Betting||Not specified.|
|Casinos Allowed?||Licensed excursion gambling boats and floating facilities which house games of chance and skill, including poker, craps, blackjack, legal.|
|Other Kinds of Gambling-Related Activities Allowed or Banned||Bookmaking; possession of gambling records and devices illegal. Bingo sponsored by bona fide charitable organizations legal. No one under 21 may wager on gambling boats.|
Note: State laws are constantly changing — contact a Missouri gaming attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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