Missouri Gaming Bill Would Approve Casino Credit for High Rollers


Scott Rupp Sponsored the Bill in the Missouri State Senate

Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow casinos in the state to extend a line of credit to high rollers. The proposal, which is sponsored by Republican State Senator Scott Rupp, would allow Missouri casinos to provide a service attractive to big spenders, who prefer to go to Las Vegas casinos because of the large lines of credit offered.

Such people would prefer not to carry large stacks of cash on their person, because it’s a security risk. The special financial privilege is not only a matter of safety, but also convenience. Instead of a briefcase full of $100 bill or multiple trips to the ATM machine, the high stakes gamblers can take out a “marker”–the industry term for casino credit.

Qualification Standards for Markers

To qualify for a marker, a player would need to be gambling at least $10,000. The idea behind such a stipulation is to assure premium players and high rollers–who are thought to be able to afford such expenditures–are the only ones allowed to carry credit with the gaming venue.

The qualification assures people with limited income cannot get into debt for tens of thousands of dollars. Average consumers would not be able to sign a marker which might represent an amount the size of their mortgage, so Missouri casinos would avoid the bad publicity of suing a losing gambler for their home, in order to pay gambling debts.

Under provisions of the law, the markers would be considered “unsecured, no-interest loan(s)” which would be due in 30 days or more. The law would protect gamblers who are considered intoxicated, requiring casino operators not to issue credit to those who are obviously inebriated. Such laws have been controversial in other locations, such as the California gambler who sued the Downtown Grand Casino in Las Vegas because he lost $500,000 over the Super Bowl weekend gambling with casino credit.

Casino Credit Bill Passes Missouri Senate

The bill passed in the Missouri Senate by a margin of 24-9. Lawmakers in the Missouri House of Representatives will need to pass the bill before it can be signed into law. Six weeks remain in the spring legislative session, and it is expected Scott Rupp’s counterparts in the Missouri House of Representatives will push for a vote before the session ends.

Luring High Stakes Gamblers to Missouri

One of the trends in global gaming is the attempt by casino operators to lure high stakes gamblers, sometimes called “whales”. These people wager enough money that their wins and losses can affect a casino’s revenue projections. Some have been known to provide so much action that their name appears on quarterly business reports.

With so much money at stake, measures to lure more high dollar players to Missouri casinos not only helps the gaming businesses in a tough economic climate, but it provides more tax revenues for the state.

Casinos Face More Competition in 2014

Many land-based casinos face a more competitive market in 2014 than they did 10 years ago. More states have approved brick-and-mortar gaming of one sort or another. Many racetracks have had gaming machines installed on their grounds, turning them into “racinos”. Native American casinos continue to be built, while private gaming companies continue to break into the business in nearby states. Meanwhile, online gaming and mobile gaming appears as if it might be legalized in dozens of U.S. states. Under such conditions, Missouri casinos believe they need laws to boost their revenues, especially because 10 other states allow casino markers.

Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association, says the measure could help local gaming locations. Winter said, “This is about a convenience for our patrons. I think we’re missing out on some players who would come to Missouri.”

Ed Emery Cites Moral Aspects to Law

Not everyone is convinced such a law is a good idea. Several Republican senators say allowing big casino credit lines could hurt families in the state. Missouri State Senator Ed Emery of Lamar is one of the bill’s opponents.

Senator Emery said, “I realize that gambling is kind of a part of life now, but I still believe there are certain moral aspects to society that make some things good and some things bad. I don’t see any place where gambling, or expanding gambling, has ever had a positive impact on families.

The casino credit gambling legislation in Missouri will be approved or rejected within the next six weeks, it would appear. The Missouri House has yet to decide when it will take a vote on the measure, but it proponents will seek to have it placed on the docket before the spring sessions are completed.