A key vote in Missouri Wednesday will decide whether to relax measures aimed at keeping gambling addicts out of casinos, the latest push by a cash-strapped state to make gambling restrictions less stringent.
The Missouri Gaming Commission is deciding whether to scrap a voluntary lifetime blacklist for problem gamblers and replace it with a five-year suspension. That would allow nearly 11,000 self-banned gamblers back into the state’s 12 riverboat casinos. The self-exclusion list, implemented in 1996, has been a centerpiece of Missouri’s efforts to manage gambling addiction, and has been emulated in at least eight other states””usually without the lifetime ban.
Several states have sharply increased betting limits since legalizing gambling. Colorado changed its maximum bet in 2009 to $100 from $5, and allowed casinos to operate 24 hours a day. Previously, they were required to close from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. South Dakota raised maximum bets in 2000, and Florida last year eliminated its limit altogether.