Missouri Online Casinos

There is a long history of people willing to play casino games in the state of Missouri, with a predisposition towards gambling in its multiple forms, but also containing stories which reveal a darker side of gambling. Perhaps, these tales of misconduct are the main reason behind the strict laws on illegal gambling that Missouri holds. But even so, there is no denying of the authentic experiences that the riverboat casinos in Missouri, bring along into our time. Missouri is an interesting mix of laws permissive of certain types of gambling, while other forms are banned and frowned upon. Online gambling in Missouri finds itself on the forbidden side of the US online gambling laws.

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Missouri Gambling Stage

For someone who properly knows his history, there’s no question of whether or not is gambling legal in Missouri, especially when the image of riverboat casinos comes to mind. Surprisingly though, these quirky casinos have become regulated in the start of the 90’s. A series of state referendums gave the people of Missouri a roller-coaster of a ride until the current Missouri casino laws have reached the existent form:

  • 1991 has seen the first referendum pass by a vast majority of votes in order to allow riverboat casinos to return to life
  • The following year has found lawmakers dispute the existence of games of chance in the future-to-be casinos. The first attempt to extend the laws to cover these types of games has failed. The first river casino opened up shop permitting only poker, blackjack, and craps.
  • The following years brought along many amendments to the Missouri gambling laws, up to the current existent version. The hours of operations have been extended, the maximum limit of 500 USD for each loss, has been dissipated and the full array of casino games has been accepted for gamblers to play: roulette, baccarat and most important, slot machines.

Another aspect worth mentioning refers to the legal gambling age in Missouri. This subject also presents an unusual side, being one of the few states where the minimum limit starts from 16 years old, in some cases. Therefore, the gambling age in Missouri is set as follows:

  • 16 years for bingo, pull-tab and coin boards
  • 18 years for participating in the state lottery
  • 21 for taking part in casino games

The Missouri laws on gambling have a mild approach on the amateur players caught involved in illegal gambling but go with full force at the professional players. The first category only has to suffer a small fine. The professionals, on the other hand, described as those which declare gambling as a livelihood, or get more than twenty percent of their annual winnings from gambling, can receive a hefty fine and risk jail time.
The same strong stance is held against illegal operators, with the hardest of punishments given to those found guilty of such activities. Furthermore, the definition of gambling operator is quite stretched, making no difference between those who actually organize the illegal gambling activity and those which aid those in the previous category.

Online Gambling in Missouri

Missouri is, at this moment, one of the states less likely to surprise the gambling community with the issuing of a Missouri online gambling laws, in favour of expanding this phenomenon in the online area.

The first argument comes after analyzing one of the main definitions about what gambling means for Missouri, which, although it doesn’t particularly refer to the online, it can easily apply to. So, gambling is seen as a “contest of chance” and in order to establish if a specific game can be categorized here or not, it has to pass the Material Degree Test. This is a challenge to prove if the outcome of a game is dependent on skill in a higher degree than it’s dependent on chance.

Lawmakers have tried to give gambling a scientific, almost mathematical, aspect. Unfortunately, it would seem that this point of view doesn’t particularly help the online gambling community. First, there is a random number generator, a concept that anyone who plays online slots for real money is familiar with. The RNG is a clear proof of chance being an important part of any online game’s result. Also, most games from respectable online gaming operators reveal the Return to Player rate, which is the fastest way to mathematically prove the impact of chance in any online game.

Second in line come the punishments, which are far less impressive in the case of residents which gamble online, than for those which give it a though at organizing an online gambling site based in Missouri. The operators of online casinos unlicensed by the state of Missouri face severe penalties: jail time, along with heavy fines. And this severe stance against online operators extends to the same degree, to all those involved in the activity, which in the case of online gambling, could mean software providers, online game developers, or server owners.
A final point to make speaks about the legalization of daily fantasy sports and, consequently, of online sports betting. A 2017 bill, referring to legalizing DFS, is still held in pending by the House. Even so, awaiting the finality of this bill, two of the most popular online operators of DFS, took the chance and continued operating in this unregulated market. On sports betting though, little seems to be changing, this subject wasn’t put up for discussion thus far. However, in an overly optimistic train of thoughts, we might see the fact that, as long as the best casinos in Missouri remain the riverboats, they have no space to establish land-based Missouri sports betting venues. Perhaps, these casinos might take into account covering that niche by turning towards the online alternatives.

Legal Alternatives to Online Gambling

The main alternate choice for those who want to play for real money using the services put at disposal by online casinos is the offshore based websites. They operate under different jurisdictions and manage to take advantage of the legal limitations that have created the gray market, which neither makes them legal, nor illegal. They are the closest substitute to Missouri online casinos, although not all software providers see the acceptance of US players with good eyes. Real Time Gaming is the name that carries the most weight from those that constantly accepts US players and Missouri residents subsequently. But there are some important gambling software developers that do not want to take the risk and the hassle that comes along with accepting users from the American states.

Some measures are taken against some of these offshore websites, as well. Missouri is between very few states to take direct action against these online casinos from different jurisdictions. Some websites of online poker, Missouri has managed to block access to. The ones belonging to Merge Network are the most notorious websites to have been banned by state authorities.

Another test of patience when playing on offshore online casinos is being able to get the cash in your pocket, to the user’s account on the Internet-based casino. The state officials are constantly trying to keep track of the amounts leaving state borders to the states that give out licenses for online gambling. In order to do so, they can impose restrictions on certain transactions they have some control over. Debit and credit cards are the ones that suffer the most in this scenario, which is most unfortunate, seeing how they are the means to deposit and withdraw money favoured and accepted by all online casinos. There are other options, however, that fall short under the state’s surveillance and manage to carry money from one pocket to another, without needing too many approvals. For example, the fast money transfer systems of Western Union and MoneyGram, are slowly beginning to rise as the preferred means of trading money, both in and out the online account.

Offline Options to Bet in Missouri

If the online seems out of reach, despite all the offshore casinos that go to great lengths to offer great services to Missouri players, there are a couple of offline means of gambling in Missouri. There are numerous charitable organizations that cover the renowned bingo games, along with some other versions, such as pull-tab or coin boards. The lottery is also a big part of the gambling market in all its types, both state-based and by joining the interstate alternatives, Powerball and Mega Millions.

The most notorious of all is, still, the MO casinos. As mentioned in the paragraphs above, although no land-based casino exists, the riverboats try to offer the same amenities as any classical casino would. Most famed are the St Louis area casinos, mainly because of the authentic atmosphere they strive to maintain. This becomes a real struggle between keeping up with the competition and retaining the old-school vibe that St Louis became famous for while integrating the digitized novelties of this modern era, in the supplied services.
Missouri has no shortage of places to spend money while gambling for the dreamed fortune, but the gambling market is far from being saturated, keeping the feeling that there is still room for land-based casinos, sports betting parlours and online casinos, altogether.