JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Missouri Gaming Commission has been regulating slot machines, casinos and all other wagering in the state for 30 years.
As those in the wagering business celebrate how the industry contributes to the state, others are working on what could be next for wagering in Missouri. Sports betting is still not legalized in Missouri, although many are actively working to change that.
Where does the money go?
In the past 30 years, the Missouri Gaming Commission has allocated over $1 billion to veterans, higher education and compulsive gambling help from casino admission fees. In fiscal 2023, $11.2 million went to the Veterans Commission, $4 million went to the Missouri National Guard Trust Fund, $5 million went to higher education financial assistance and $100,000 went to the Compulsive Gamblers Fund, according to the Missouri Gaming Commission's financial records.
Nick Humphrey with the Missouri National Guard said the money has funded over 270,000 funeral honors for veterans since 1999.
"It's allowed for the construction of five cemeteries throughout the state, veterans cemeteries throughout the state, which is free burial for Missouri's veterans and their spouses and any dependents," said Paul Kirchhoff with Missouri Veterans Commission.
All of Missouri's 13 casinos pay a 21% tax on revenue. From that, 10% goes to the city or county the casino is located in, and 90% goes into the Missouri Gaming Proceeds for Education Fund. Since 1994, casinos have paid $7.6 billion into the fund, including over $363 million in fiscal year 2023.
Since Isle of Capri casino was licensed in December 2001, it's contributed $3 million to Boonville. Some of the projects that money has funded include broadband expansion, an HVAC system in City Hall and street paving on Fox Hollow.
The Missouri Legislature tried for years to pass a sports betting bill. Although it has passed the Missouri House of Representatives, the Senate has not come to an agreement.
Because of the impasse in the Missouri legislature, the state's professional sports teams banded together to put out initiative petitions to get sports betting on the 2024 ballot. The petitions have been approved to collect signatures.
Under one petition, there would be a 10% tax on the revenue after the winnings. St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt previously told ABC 17 that taxing could change, but the teams feel 10% is a good middle ground.
The petition needs signatures from 5% of legal voters in six of eight voting districts to get on a statewide ballot. More information about the initiative petition process can be found online. It takes a simple majority of voters for an initiative petition to pass.
Missouri Gaming Commission Chair Jan Zimmerman said the commission is prepared for sports betting if it becomes legal.
"But I feel like we will continue to be successful and will continue to provide the benefits to the organizations that we already have, regardless of if sports betting happens," Zimmerman said.