Missouri Online Poker Law
Another state with a large, embedded casino industry, Missouri isn’t in any hurry to get into the online poker game. There is no indication that an online poker or gambling bill will be introduced in Missouri in 2014.
The state’s 13 casinos are owned by a handful of casino industry companies, some of which are giants: Pinnacle Entertainment, Isle of Capri, Affinity Gambling, Penn National Gaming, and Caesars Entertainment.
All but Affinity are members of the American Gaming Association (AGA). Self-described as “the leading voice in the commercial casino industry,” it’s made up of 22 casinos and gambling-related companies. It’s a powerful group that is determined to protect the assets of its members, and in this place and time during the very early stages of online poker legalization in America, those considerable assets that must be protected are live casinos.
But take heart with this news, online poker players of Missouri (and beyond!). Using information from a study commissioned by the organization, the AGA determined that online poker legalization would not affect casino attendance, but online casino gambling legalization would, significantly.
The AGA has officially came out in support of the federal bill that would legalize online poker, and wants to avoid the messy patchwork of laws that comes with implementing essentially the same law in different states. But that bill is more or less dead, thanks to poor wording and a lack of details.
Makes you think Jon Kyl, one of the co-authors of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 — the neutron bomb that flattened online poker in 2011 (some say to level the playing field for the members of the AGA, by the way) — really hates online poker.
Regardless, with an apparent lack of interest in online poker legalization at a federal level, the casino-industry-generated lobbying dollars have shifted to states. Missouri being one of those states with a heavy AGA presence — and AGA’s determination that online poker won’t harm attendance — you’d think the ball would be moving faster than it is here.
When Can I Play Online Poker in Missouri?
If Congress miraculously passes an online poker bill, Missouri would most likely be in the first group of states to opt in. As of late 2013, that prospect is looking grim for a standalone measure. Despite a strong AGA presence, online poker legalization will face a noisy rebuttal from the conservative side of the aisle. Don’t look for online poker legalization in Missouri before 2017.
What Is Missouri’s Potential Poker Market?
With almost 4 million residents 21 and older, about 400,000 potential online poker players are without a game. At least the state has a bounty of card rooms, right? Missouri’s possible online poker community is the same as Sierra Leone’s, where online poker is legal.