Mary Schanuel is president of Synergy Group, a marketing and public relations agency whose clients include the Missouri Gaming Association. The following post was written by Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association.
Every day, Missouri loses gaming tax revenue and tourism dollars to bordering states such as Illinois, where state laws allow casinos to extend a line of credit to gamblers.
In fact, most commercial casinos in the U.S. today can offer credit. This customer convenience for our regular players aids in attracting high-end players and provides extra security for those guests who don’t want to carry large amounts of cash.
An amendment added to SB813 would allow Missouri casinos to offer a line of credit while establishing important barriers to protect consumers.
First, under the proposed legislation, a casino guest would need to meet a high financial threshold before they could even qualify for a line of credit. Guests would need to complete an application and qualify for at least a $5,000 line of credit after a credit check.
The line of credit would not be secured by personal or real property, nor would it carry any interest charge. This is not a loan made by the casino to our customers, as it has been mischaracterized by some of the media.
Since the casino assumes all risk if credit is not repaid, the decision to extend a line of credit would be made very carefully. The casino would conduct a thorough credit check, and only casino employees licensed by the Missouri Gaming Commission could approve applications.
Any default on credit would have no impact on gaming taxes, which are based on the player’s gaming transactions and are paid by the casino.
As the most highly regulated industry in the state, the Missouri casino industry understands that any change in casino regulation is taken very seriously. We appreciate the concern of the legislature and the public to ensure that any such change is in the best interests of the State of Missouri and its citizens.