A concerted effort to eliminate Missouri’s $500 loss limit for casino gamblers has been shelved with numerous issues unresolved after almost eight straight hours of debate in the Missouri Senate.
Sponsor Charlie Shields of St. Joseph called things to halt about 3:50 a.m. today, saying he was seeing the Senate going in different directions on two key issues and knowing other issues were yet to be fully aired. He does not know when he will get his bill back to the floor for debate. Shields says he’s going to let gambling lobbyists work with Senators who object to various parts of the bill to resolve problems.
Shields’ bill would have established a college scholarship program funded by additional gambling tax income raised after the loss limit was removed and after the state increased the gross receipts tax by one percent. The proposal also says Missouri will have no more than 13 licensed casinos.
Senator Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit, an ardent opponent of any effort to remove the loss limit, says he will not yield on that point. Senator Victor Callahan of Independence says the cap on licenses will mean he must tell residents of Sugar Creek, in his district, that they will never have a chance to get a casino. Senator Tim Green of Spanish Lake, says the one percent increase in the gross receipts tax would be woefully inadequate. He says Illinois taxes its casinos at more than three times the rate Missouri would be taxing its casinos.
The audio below is from the concluding moments of the debate, beginning at 3:37 a.m. when Shields moved to put his bill (SB430) aside. He then discusses the situation with Senators Green (13th district), Bartle (8th district) and Callahan (11th district) before moving to adjourn until 10 a.m. today.