Missouri to vote on loss limits for gamblers – ISA-GUIDE.de

Missouri to vote on loss limits for gamblers

Missouri voters will decide in November whether to boost casino taxes and repeal the state’s unique USD 500 gambling loss limit. The moves could raise more than USD 100 million in new taxes for schools statewide.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced that the casino measure was one of two initiatives that garnered enough petition signatures to appear on the November ballot. The other measure would ensure the availability of quality home-care services for the elderly and Missourians with disabilities through the establishment of the Missouri Quality Homecare Council.

Carnahan on Tuesday certified the casino industry-backed initiative petition that would eliminate loss limits that restrict gamblers’ buy-in to USD 500 every two hours and raise casino taxes by one percentage point, to 21 percent of gross revenues.

The measure also would eliminate mandatory use of identity cards by gamblers and Missouri voters will decide in November whether to boost casino taxes and repeal the state’s unique us$ 500 gambling loss limit. The moves could raise more than USD 100 million in new taxes for schools statewide.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced late Tuesday that the casino measure was one of two initiatives that garnered enough petition signatures to appear on the November ballot. The other measure would ensure the availability of quality home-care services for the elderly and Missourians with disabilities through the establishment of the Missouri Quality Homecare Council.

Carnahan on Tuesday certified the casino industry-backed initiative petition that would eliminate loss limits that restrict gamblers’ buy-in to USD 500 every two hours and raise casino taxes by one percentage point, to 21 percent of gross revenues. The measure also would eliminate mandatory use of identity cards by gamblers and would cap the number of casinos statewide at the current 13, including one under construction near St. Louis.

“Voter approval will protect thousands of Missouri jobs and help boost our economy by eliminating Missouri’s outdated, uncompetitive loss-limit regulations, which don’t exist in any other state,” said Scott Charton, spokesman for the industry’s Yes for Schools First Coalition, which gathered signatures and will campaign for passage.

“That will let Missouri compete for casino visitors on a level playing field with neighboring states, so we can keep and attract more visitors and revenues here, to benefit our economy and our schools,” said Charton.

The group pushed for the initiative after almost annual efforts to repeal loss limits legislatively have failed. This effort also comes ahead of the establishment of casinos in Kansas, which will not have limits.

The measure is expected to draw opposition from several quarters, including in Sugar Creek and Cape Girardeau, where municipal officials have been pressing the Missouri Gaming Commission for expansion to allow casinos in their communities.

The state’s anti-gambling community also appears ready for a fight. “We’re looking forward to educating people on exactly what the consequences of passing this are,” said Evelio Silvera, executive director of the St. Louis-based Casino Watch citizens group, citing problem gamblers as one group that could be victimized by looser rules.

Silvera said some law enforcement agencies also could line up against the measure, because it would make it more difficult to identify gamblers, especially those who have been banned from the casino for criminal activity or have self-banned themselves to control their gambling habit.

The Gaming Commission last year sought unsuccessfully to toughen identification rules through the use of biometrics or fingerprinting.

Silvera on Tuesday said his group is encouraged by a Missouri Gaming Commission survey earlier this year that found more than 60 percent of those surveyed favored the loss limit versus about 25 percent who were opposed to its use in the state’s casino.

“I feel very confident that the gaming commission’s survey showed some attitude advantages for us,” he said.

The state’s rule limits gamblers to purchasing no more than USD 500 worth of slot-machine credits or table-game chips every two hours. The gaming commission has contended that only around 2 percent of gamblers ever hit that limit, which the regulators have acknowledged is costly and difficult to enforce.

“Voter approval will protect thousands of Missouri jobs and help boost our economy by eliminating Missouri’s outdated, uncompetitive loss-limit regulations, which don’t exist in any other state,” said Scott Charton, spokesman for the industry’s Yes for Schools First Coalition, which gathered signatures and will campaign for passage.

The group pushed for the initiative after almost annual efforts to repeal loss limits legislatively have failed. This effort also comes ahead of the establishment of casinos in Kansas, which will not have limits.

The measure is expected to draw opposition from several quarters, including in Sugar Creek and Cape Girardeau, where municipal officials have been pressing the Missouri Gaming Commission for expansion to allow casinos in their communities. The state’s anti-gambling community also appears ready for a fight.

“We’re looking forward to educating people on exactly what the consequences of passing this are,” said Evelio Silvera, executive director of the St. Louis-based Casino Watch citizens group, citing problem gamblers as one group that could be victimized by looser rules. The Gaming Commission last year sought unsuccessfully to toughen identification rules through the use of biometrics or fingerprinting.

Silvera on Tuesday said his group is encouraged by a Missouri Gaming Commission survey earlier this year that found more than 60 percent of those surveyed favored the loss limit versus about 25 percent who were opposed to its use in the state’s casino.

The state’s rule limits gamblers to purchasing no more than USD 500 worth of slot-machine credits or table-game chips every two hours. The gaming commission has contended that only around 2 percent of gamblers ever hit that limit, which the regulators have acknowledged is costly and difficult to enforce.