Gambling Loss Limit

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The Missouri legislature, with the approval of voters, adopted a gambling loss limit in an effort to prevent substantial losses by gambling patrons. The loss limit allows for a loss of no more than $500 every two hours, or $6000 per day. This loss limit does not limit recreational gambling but does clearly help reduce the impact felt from pathological and problem gamblers as well as help prevent illegal money laundering.

Those individuals who would gamble and lose more that $500 ever two hours are most likely to be the pathological and problem gambler. Those individuals are the least able to control their gambling and are the most responsible for the social cost that result from gambling.[1] This loss limit helps to reduce binge gambling because “many problem gamblers have binge activity extending over long hours. If casinos would have closing hours, (or loss limits) even if only for two to four hours an evening, such binge behavior could be temporarily stopped, and a problem gambler could be brought back to reality." [2] In fact, “removing loss limits at gambling establishments will lead to an increase in compulsive gambling and an escalation of the gambling by those individuals in the early throes of addiction." [3]

The $500 loss limit also significantly deters the use of casinos as a means for illegally laundering large sums of money. “The federal government is currently expanding regulation necessary to limit money laundering by drug cartels and terrorist organizations. The federal government has found that existing federal regulation of, and reporting requirements for, casino transactions are not sufficient to limit or reduce money laundering and that additional regulation is needed. News reports indicate that terrorists were using casinos (including Missouri casinos) in the course of the recent terrorist attacks. Thus, in this climate, it is not a time to loosen the regulations on casinos but a time to -- as the federal government is doing -- consider additional money laundering regulations for casinos and other gambling enterprises. An investigation by the United States General Accounting Office concluded that, ‘As the amount of money wagered annually has increased, casinos may have become more vulnerable to individuals who attempt to launder their illegal profits in the fast-paced environment of casino gaming.’” [4] A gambling loss limit provides the regulation necessary to prevent such harmful and illegal money laundering from organized crime syndicates and terrorists alike.

Proposition A effectively ended the loss limit in Missouri.