For as long as gambling in Missouri has been legal, casino companies have been fairly active in trying to find a way to end the $500 Loss Limit. They have attempted everything from simple removal to well-orchestrated trades and deals such as removing the loss limit in exchange for a cap on casino licenses and increased taxes. The most common strategy employed however has been to promote money for education in exchange for the removal of the loss limit.
Last year, for example, one of the largest recipients of campaign contributions of gambling special interest, Senator Charlie Shields introduced SB 430 and pitched it as an education bill entitled The Smart Start Scholarship. The idea was to remove the loss limit then take a cut of the extra revenue to provide supposed scholarships to Missouri students. After Casino Watch helped to expose the education hoax as a massive gambling expansion bill, it never passed the Senate. However, the industry believes that they were close enough to a deal last year that want to reattempt the same bill this year. As such, Senator Shields has indicated he will reintroduce the bill in this year’s legislative session.
If the casino industry fails its renewed attempt in the legislature, the KC Star is reporting they “filed paperwork with the Missouri secretary of state seeking a statewide referendum in November” with the intent of putting the issue to a vote of the people of Missouri.
This state and others have seen this constitutional initiative as a political weapon of choice, as was evident last year with Amendment II. We can expect that the casino industry till invest a great deal of money in an attempt to persuade Missourians to vote against the loss limit.
As explained in the Stanford Journal of Law 2003, voters will be subjected to nonacademic disinformation as the gambling industry routinely uses their influence to create studies that don’t have backed university support, that don’t properly provide the numbers behind their research necessary for proper peer review and are produced by biased pro gambling interests. Please stay up to date on all relevant information on Missouri’s $500 Loss Limit here and expect the casino’s to pull out all the stops as they target the $500 Loss Limit in 08’.