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Missouri planning to expand gambling at casinos
By Gene Koprowski
Politicians in Missouri this week restarted the debate over casino loss limits, currently set at $500 every two hours. Funds generated by the new policy...
...will be used to finance early-childhood education programs and college scholarships, experts said. The casino bill is Senate Bill 1052.
The state's loss limits — the only ones imposed by a state government in the entire country — should be repealed because they discourage high rollers, make the state’s casinos uncompetitive and don't even work, according to Republican Sen. Scott Rupp of Wentzville, the sponsor of the legislative initiative.
“When you look at the fiscal impact this could cost the state or the opportunity to continue the voters’ wishes for new money for education, I think loss limits are no longer serving their purpose and need to be removed,” Rupp said.
Kansas City casino operators, who may soon see competition from across the state line in Wyandotte County, Kan., are backing the plan, said Michael Winter, a lobbyist for the Missouri Gaming Association.
“Our operators will be at a serious competitive disadvantage when those Kansas operators come on line,” Winter said.
The bill raises the taxes on casino operators to 21 percent of gambling revenue from 20 percent, whilst throwing out archaic loss limits.
The government netted $320 million in gaming taxes last year. The state’s haul could rise an additional $140 million if loss limits are removed and the tax is boosted.
Some of the new tax revenue would be used to expand the A+ Schools Program to every high school in the state.
What's more, the bill would also limit the number of casinos in the state to 13. Twelve casinos now operate in Missouri, and a 13th is under construction.
If the bill does not pass, a coalition of gambling companies filed paperwork for an initiative petition that would seek to put many of the changes found in the bill on the ballot. If lawmakers cannot get it done, then the casinos will put the issue to voters directly.
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