Senate debates expanded gambling

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Saying Missouri casinos face new competition from Kansas, a Senate leader tried again Monday to pass legislation that would repeal loss limits and raise taxes on casinos.

Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields proposed repealing a state law that limits what casino patrons can lose in a two-hour period to $500.

The Senate began debating the measure at about 5 p.m. Monday and discussion lasted several hours, though the chamber was nearly empty most of the time. It was unclear whether the bill would reach a vote.

The gambling industry and the Missouri Gaming Commission, which regulates the casinos, have for years argued that the loss limits put Missouri casinos at a competitive disadvantage with those in surrounding states.

Along with ending loss limits, Shields wants to impose a 2 percent tax increase on larger casinos to fund a new college scholarship program.

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