Guide to Missouri Gambling and Online Casinos
Missouri is a state where gambling is legal within certain limits, but if you want to try your luck, you should go to riverboat casinos. If you want to play from the comfort of your home, you will not be able to find online casinos in Missouri, as all forms of online gambling are still considered illegal. But even if you cannot find a Missouri online casino for real money, you can still play at the internet casinos we have chosen for you: these are licensed, well-reputed, safe, and reliable sites. They are ready to offer you hundreds of casino games with the best bonuses – you can choose one below and sign up today. However, if you wish, continue reading our article first, as we will share important information about gambling regulations in this state.
Gambling in Missouri
Gambling is regulated in Revised Statutes of Missouri Chapters 313 and 572. 313 organizes charity games (for example, bingo), and 572 organizes casino gaming. Simply put, we can say that land-based casino gambling is allowed as long as it is licensed. However, this license is given only to riverboat casinos: it is not possible to open a brick-and-mortar casino within the state borders. Sports betting is still considered illegal. Neither online nor offline versions are allowed. This is a ban that also applies to riverboat casinos: you can only play games, not place a bet – casinos cannot accept sports wagers.
However, we should point out that on-track betting for horse races is legal. Pari-mutuel wagering is the only type of betting allowed and if you want to try your luck, you must go to a track. Betting booths are not allowed in the state and there is no online wagering option for horse racing betting.
All gambling activities are regulated by the Missouri Gaming Commission. This commission is responsible for licensing and inspecting riverboat casinos. It also supervises bingo games through its different divisions. The commission consists of five members, all of whom are appointed by the governor. The commission also oversees fantasy sports contests, which are considered a form of gambling in Missouri. In this context, let us point out that this is the only game of chance that can be offered online: fantasy sports operators can offer their services through websites or mobile applications.
Riverboat casinos are subject to an initial 75.000 USD fee and an annual fee of 25.000 USD. Compared to other states, these are pretty low figures. However, they pay a 21% tax on their gross gaming revenues, and they cannot offer any game they want: the Commission must approve the supplier of the game and the type of the game. Also, all game suppliers must get a license from the Commission to be able to sell their games to riverboat casinos, and this license costs 10.000 USD.
Table & card games such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and craps are only offered at licensed riverboat casinos. Unfortunately, it is not possible to find a Missouri online casino for real money that offers them. The Missouri Gaming Commission determines which table games riverboat casinos can offer – you can find the current list of permitted games here. To give some examples:
- Blackjack "Twenty-one"
- Bonus Pai Gow
- Casino War [Progressive]
- EZ Baccarat Progressive
The list is quite long and includes variants of traditional games as well as exotic games. You can be sure that you will not have any problems in terms of diversity. However, due to the space limitations of riverboat casinos, you will not find many gaming tables: If there were Missouri online casinos, you would not have this problem. Fortunately, if you choose one of the casinos we recommend, you can still access dozens of different table games with advantageous bonuses.
As a rule and under current laws, slot machines are legal only in riverboat casinos. So, to play them, you must be at least 21 years old and go to one of these casinos. As we mentioned above, you won't find Missouri online casinos that offer these games. (However, note that you can still play online slots at one of our recommended internet casinos.) The slot machines at riverboat casinos are highly regulated and each one has the seal of the Gaming Commission: this means they are regulated for fairness. In this context, machines with mechanical reels, video slots, and progressive jackpots are allowed. The official website of the Gaming Commission lists the types of slot games and where you can play them legally.
However, for the last 10 years or so, it has been possible to see slot machine-like games at Missouri gas stations and convenience stores. These are offered, claiming to be “amusement devices” and do not pay real money. They are no different from slot machines in terms of gameplay, but they give discount coupons as rewards that are valid only in their location. Authorities declare them illegal and often confiscate them. But despite this, they continue to appear. You are not doing anything illegal if you play these games, but there are serious sanctions against businesses that offer them. For example, 31 lawsuits were filed in 2022 due to illegal slot machines.
Lottery and Bingo
Online gambling in Missouri for real money is prohibited and gambling is only allowed in riverboat casinos, but you can still participate in the state lottery and try your luck at bingo halls. These halls are licensed by Charitable Games/Bingo Division, and the official website even offers an interactive list where you can see the closest place to you. You can find a bingo hall in almost every county, and Missouri Statue Chapter 313 is devoted entirely to bingo games.
The state lottery is known simply as MOLottery and has been held since 1984. In addition to Powerball, Mega Millions, and Cash4Life games, it also offers scratch cards and instant-win games (e.g., Pick 4, Pick 3, Cash Pop). Anyone over the age of 18 can participate in the lottery. You cannot buy online tickets or participate in the games from the official website. Only the winning numbers are announced on the site, information is given about lottery types, and the list of authorized sellers from whom you can buy tickets is shared. All lottery payments are subject to a minimum 4% tax and the majority are paid in installments over a 24-year period. In other words, if you were hoping for an experience like playing in a Missouri online casino, this is not it: MOLottery offers lots of options and it is a part of the federal lottery network, but it is also subject to many restrictions.
Poker is a game that is legal in this state, but only if you play it at riverboat casinos. In other words, you won't find any online casinos in Missouri where you can play poker, and there are no poker rooms/clubs within the state. There are 13 riverboat casinos anchored in different ports here and you can find different variants of poker in each of them, some even organize local tournaments. For example:
- Daily Hold'em Tournaments (Hollywood Casino)
- MSPT Missouri State Poker Championship (held in different casinos)
- Winter Poker Classic Series (Hollywood Casino)
Poker games that can be played in these casinos are chosen by the Gaming Commission. The list of allowed games includes these variants:
- Bad Beat Progressive
- Crazy Pineapple
- Five Card Draw
- Five Card Stud
- KC Lo-Ball
- Omaha Hold 'Em
- Seven Card Stud
- Texas Hold 'Em
If you want to play poker without using real money, you have more options: you can find a poker group in almost every bar in the state. Players are allowed to gather together to play both poker and other card games as long as it is played for recreational purposes. This also goes for charity poker games and tournaments; for example, The United Way of Northeast Missouri holds an annual tournament where all proceeds go towards education. It is forbidden to play poker for real money for gambling purposes outside of riverboat casinos.
Land Based Casinos
Online gambling in Missouri for real money is not allowed, but land-based casinos are legal. Although it would be more accurate to say “boat-based” here. As of 2023, there are 13 riverboat casinos in Missouri. These are mostly moored in a particular port, but they sometimes travel along rivers. The current list, including its operators, is as follows:
- Affinity Interactive: St. Jo Frontier Casino, Mark Twain Casino
- Bally's Corporation: Bally's Kansas City Casino
- Boyd Gaming Corporation: Ameristar Casino Kansas City, Ameristar Casino St. Charles
- Caesars Entertainment, Inc: Harrah's Kansas City, Isle of Capri Casino, Boonville, Horseshoe St. Louis
- Century Casinos, Inc: Century Casino Cape Girardeau, Century Casino Caruthersville
- PENN Entertainment, Inc: Argosy Riverside Casino, River City Casino, Hollywood Casino St. Louis
As long as you are 21 years old, you can visit any of these casinos. Unfortunately, like in New Jersey, casino operators are not allowed to offer their services online, meaning it is not possible for them to open Missouri online casino sites. However, you can find all traditional casino games (slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker, etc.) on the boats. That being said, keep in mind that these are not large boats: they are not big and wide enough to host a lot of games, so while there is variety, the quantity will be quite limited. Other than riverboat casinos, it is not possible to find a land-based casino in Missouri.
This also applies to tribal casinos: There are no Indian reservations in Missouri, and for the same reason, there are no tribal casinos. However, this is just a “geographical technicality”, as there are some casinos managed by the Osage tribe in the Lake of the Ozarks region. These are not technically within Missouri borders, but in practice, they are pretty close. It is also known that this tribe wants to buy land from the state and is lobbying for this. In other words, we may see tribal casinos in Missouri in the near future, if not now.