Gambling Laws For Missouri
Thanks for visiting MissouriGamblingLaws.com where our mission is to not only help educate Missouri residents as to the intricacies of their legal landscape regarding the hobby, but to help them find the safest means possible to take part in gambling responsibly, and in accordance with Missouri gambling laws. Please take your time and review our take on how to legally gamble in Missouri, both in-person and online. By the time you're through, you will have learned which forms of gambling are acceptable in Missouri as well as which online websites have the type of gaming you're interested in.
As we take this ride, we are going to look at the gambling laws in the Show Me State, in detail, and discuss how these affect gambling in the real world. One of our main goals will be to make the distinction between being a gambler versus the person who profits whenever a gambler makes a bet.
All of the information presented here on MissouriGamblingLaws.com was found through careful research on the internet as well as firsthand experience of ourselves and others. Without time to waste, let's look at the Missouri gambling codes that matter most to the person who simply wants to gamble and what they have to say.
Legality of Gambling In Missouri: Is It Legal? Is It Safe?
While the federal government applicable to all U.S. citizens declared the facilitation and “business” of gambling to be a serious crime, the laws are quick to point out that they take no umbrage with otherwise honest residents who merely wish to place a bet on a sports event or the outcome of a game of chance or skill in which they are participating.
Missouri gambling laws on this principle by going a step further and criminalizing the act of unregulated gambling. Chapter 572.010 section four of state legislation defines gambling as when one “stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence.” This is a fairly all-encompassing definition of gambling, which not only criminalizes sports betting and casino games, but fails to leave any exceptions for “games of skill” (namely poker) to fall outside the definition of gambling.
There is, however, good news for Missouri residents who feel confident they can maintain a responsible gambling hobby. Chapter 572.020 section two of legislation labels this crime as a class C misdemeanor. With a penalty of up to 15 days in jail and/or a $300 fine, this is the most minor crime possible in a Missouri state court. With such being the case, this is not a prosecuted crime. In fact, one would have to dive back in the books all the way to the days before WWII before they could find an otherwise honest citizen brought up on charges of “gambling” in Missouri. Even when illicit gambling rings are broken up, the participants are not brought up on charges.
As recently as 2007, Missouri even amended their policy regarding riverboat-only casinos and allotted for land-based casinos in the city of St. Louis. Slowly but surely the policy towards gambling in the United States is reversing, and Missouri is a perfect microcosm of this.
This is not to say that all gambling activity in Missouri will go unnoticed, however. If any resident of the Show Me State is caught in what could be considered “promoting gambling,” they will not only leave themselves open to a good chance of prosecution, but they will face much more serious charges as well.
Depending on the severity of the instance, chapter 572.030 of Missouri legislation states the promoting unregulated gambling can range from an offense that classifies as a class A misdemeanor which can land the guilty party in jail for up to one year along with a $1000 fine to a class D felony, which is good for 1-5 years in prison as well as a fine ranging from $5000 to $20,000. In addition, a felony charge never wipes away from a criminal record, and can take away a citizen’s right to vote. Those who live in Missouri must take great care to avoid the promotion of gambling!
Difference Between Gambling & Promoting Gambling
Avoiding serious criminal charges for violating Missouri gambling laws is actually a fairly simple matter. Luckily, there is a great distinction between the two acts, other than the disparity on both the rate of prosecution and the severity of the punishment associated with each.
It’s easy to define gambling as the act of placing any bets or wagers either on the outcome of a game of chance or some future event, like a sports contest or political election. It’s also easy to understand that in order to place that bet, an otherwise honest citizen will generally have to place such a bet or wager with some outside agent in order to see a profit. This outside agent would most likely be guilty of “promoting gambling.”
For example, if a man walks into a bar and bets on a sports event with the bartender, while the man would be safe from any legal prosecution, the bartender would not. Generally, there is one more stipulation to being found guilty of “promotion,” the guilty party must make a profit off the gambling. For clarity’s sake, we must say that profiting from gambling promotion does not mean collecting winnings from placing a bet or wager, but rather setting oneself up in a position to profit from gambling whether they place a wager or not.
This can include operating a casino game as the “house” where they have much better odds to rack up money, operating a sportsbook or charging admission to a poker game.
Just so long as a resident of Missouri avoids these actions, they should be safe from any charges of “promoting gambling.”
Betting Laws In Missouri
When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was passed through federal courts back in 1992 effectively prohibiting even state sanctioned facilitation of sports betting all throughout the country, four states were “grandfathered” exceptions to this rule. Missouri was not one of them; only Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana are allowed to regulate sports gambling within their states.
As a result, not even land based casinos in Missouri may offer sports betting to residents. However, several online sportsbooks are open to Missouri residents an accepting business. Even though sports betting falls under the technical definition of “gambling,” any one who bets on sports online with a reputable, offshore sports betting site should have no issues with the law, as those bookmakers are located outside of Missouri and United States jurisdiction.
For a long time in Missouri, the only casinos that one could step inside were riverboat casinos, be they actual cruisers or stationary boats. However, 2007 saw the opening of Missouri’s first fully land based casino in St. Louis, and since then two more have opened.
Outside St. Louis however, the state of Missouri only sanctions riverboat casinos. This is far from the worst legal situation in the United States, especially when one considers that Missouri residents are still free to sign up with legal online casinos in order to further customize their gambling experience. With the prosecution of Missouri gambling laws as lax as it is in the Show Me State, hundreds of thousands of residents have joined online casinos already.
Whereas there are some states which specifically exempt poker from legislation by declaring it a “game of skill” rather than a “game of chance,” Missouri is not such a state. As a result, residents will not find any stand-alone brick and mortar poker rooms, but poker is offered in all the riverboat and land based casinos located within the state.
Home Games: It is also worth noting that private poker games amongst friends, while not specifically sanctioned by the law, are not prosecuted in any form. Break out the beer, chips, dip and cards, because poker night is on!
Legal Gambling Age In Missouri
The issue of gambling legally in Missouri is complicated enough, the very last thing any resident should want to do is complicate matters further. Fortunately, this should be easy to avoid just so long as residents wait until they are over 21 years of age to gamble in Missouri. This is the state imposed legal gambling age, and violating it will surely result in inconvenient consequences.
Firstly, the guilty party is sure to be banned from whichever establishment they were caught gambling underage in, in addition, the state will impose a hefty legal fine as well as community service or even jail time. If one wishes to have a pleasant time gambling, the best advice is simply to wait until they are of legal age to do so.
Where to Play: Safe + Legal Gambling In Missouri
On-Land: In the state of Missouri, there are many casinos. Whether a prospective gambler wishes to take the Mark Twain tour of the riverboats or visit the newly sanctioned and constructed venues in St. Louis, there should be all manner of slot machines and table games available for the wagering in any of these facilities.
Many of these casinos specialize in poker as well, offering several tables and tournaments and dozens of opportunities to win big in the Show Me State. While residents will not find sports betting available in any brick and mortar facilities, Missouri is still a much more generous venue than some when it comes to the ability to gamble legally.
Still, even the new land based casinos fail to offer a truly customizable gambling experience. With these locations spread out so thin around the state, it can be incredibly difficult to support a regular gambling hobby that allows you to partake for a little bit of time over several days rather than a whole lot all at once.
Online/Web-Based: Luckily for Missouri residents who want to choose when, where and how they gamble, there are several legal gambling sites accepting Missouri residents.
The websites listed on this page were all established and currently function overseas, putting them well outside the jurisdiction of not only Missouri gambling laws but federal laws, as well. This helps them avoid pesky charges for “promotion of gambling” that have shut down all gambling networks based in the U.S., and since it has already been established that the act of gambling in Missouri is not prosecuted, we can deduce that gambling with any of these sites leaves any Missouri resident safe from legal interference.
While the idea of gambling with a foreign company may make some Missouri residents nervous, there is no need to panic. These are all legitimate business that are not only held to strict regulations by the laws of their native country, but by the reputable international gaming commissions through which they are endorsed. The endorsements ensure not only fair play from all of these websites, but efficient, secure and speedy payouts. Legal gambling sites for Missouri residents are some of the most secure places for hard-earned money, and certainly preferable to the alternative of consorting with criminal + unregulated gaming elements.
Top-Rated Missouri Friendly Gambling Sites
Easy To Sign Up, Many Deposit Options & Very Fast Payouts
If you are looking for the best Missouri gambling site on the market, your search could very well begin and end at Bovada. After over 20 years of service to their loyal customers, their name has become synonymous with a quality, reliable product that will not only allow its members to gamble legally, but to do so with a network that offers the best software for both casino games and poker imaginable. Whether you show up for the phenomenal sportsbook, the hundreds of thousands of dollars in guaranteed poker tournaments, or the hundreds of different slot machines, you will surely stay for the fantastic customer service.
Once you join Bovada, you’ll want to profess your love from the rooftops. Fortunately, this could prove profitable as well with Bovada’s refer-a-friend program. Using this perk, you can rack up $100 in free money to use anywhere on the site. Tell your entire office about it, and meet up online for a riveting hand of poker!
More Gambling Sites That Welcome Missouri Players
Getting More Help: What To Do Next...
The information presented within our pages is purely for references purposes only. While the staff here at MissouriGamblingLaws.com has done its best to find the most accurate information, it is possible for the info to become outdated thanks to changing Missouri gambling laws. Because of this, this website is no replacement for advice from a qualified legal professional if you are worried about facing punishment; successful gamblers are confident and you can't be confident when worrying about your safety. Finally, it is recommended that our readers visit Missouri's searchable state codes to view these laws with their own eyes; this reference can be found at www.moga.mo.gov.