Bill to legalize slot machines in bars, convenience stores in Missouri moves forward

Credit: KMOV

( – There is a renewed effort in Missouri to legalize slot machines at bars and convenience stores despite concerns from the casino industry.

The Missouri Video Lottery Control Act made it’s way out of committee on Tuesday.

Retail locations could have five lottery terminals while fraternal or veterans’ organizations could operate up to ten.

Commander Eric Lowing at the American Legion Post 397 in Creve Coeur says it would be a huge help for them,

“Overall, the number of veterans are joining places like the Legion and VFW are down over the years,” said Lowing. “It would provide us an opportunity to maintain our property and continue to remain open for the public and support our veterans.”

Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) says the State of Missouri would be a big winner as well. The state is estimated to collect $180 million from the video lottery machines. The money would go towards education and veterans’ homes, said Hoskins.

But casinos are concerned. According to a study of the bill, “The extent of the reduction in revenue in both state and local taxes from riverboat gaming casinos and charitable bingo is unknown but significant, as has been the case in other states which have video lottery terminals,” read the study.

To help out casinos, the bill does allow for sports betting. Taxes from wagering on sporting events could bring in an additional $65 million. But for now, sports betting is illegal under federal law. Hoskins said if that changes, the casinos could participate.

A spokesperson from the Missouri Gaming Association released a statement opposing the bill:“Legalizing slot machines would be the largest expansion of gambling since voters approved the casinos. This is a very substantial change in policy. We do have considerable concerns with the legislation.”The bill is in the early stages.

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