Rick Alm of The Kansas City Star has reported on a very devastating piece of legislation being proposed in Missouri that would allow fraternal lodges and halls to establish “untaxed mini-casinos:”
Introduced last week by Sugar Creek Democrat Rep. Ray Salva, the measure would allow any fraternal, veterans, religious and other organization licensed by the Missouri Gaming Commission for bingo games to also offer one Class II slot machine for each 40 people on its membership rolls.
A Class II slot machine looks exactly like a garden-variety cherry master slot machine, but they play against other machines like a bingo game. They are virtually identical to a slot machine and cause the same tragic addiction and family devastation as a typical slot machine. These devices are currently found in tribal casinos.
Not only will these mini-casino’s be devastating to our families and communities, it will cost the state millions of dollars to regulate:
Auditors with the state’s Oversight Division estimate passage would require the hiring of 16 additional gaming commission employees plus other regulatory changes at an estimated annual cost of around $1.3 million.
The auditors also noted fraternal slots also might draw away traditional bingo players, slashing the state’s annual $2.1 million in bingo taxes on game suppliers by as much as 25 percent.
Historically, every time a new community allows bingo slot machines, charitable bingo is harmed and the fraternal organizations take a big cut before the “profits” go to other charities. HB 566 will expand gambling, hurt our families, and hurt current charities.
We are no longer talking about expanded gambling isolated to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. We are talking about mini-casinos throughout the entire state. The old Missouri attitude of ignoring the problem because it’s “Not in My Backyard” is a thing of the past. This bill will effect you no matter where you live and it can’t be ignored. Please take action and contact your local Senators and Representatives and warn them of the dangers of HB566!!!