Missouri Legal Poker Sites

Missouri StateMissouri has an interesting quirk in its gambling Statutes which makes it an offense to be a professional gambler here. Defined as gaining more than 20% of your income through gambling, this ancient law could theoretically make becoming a poker pro a criminal offense. Fortunately, in reality Missouri is poker friendly. There are many casino poker rooms to play at, and home-games here are legal too – though they do require a ‘genuine social relationship’.

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This page looks at the world of poker in Missouri in detail. First of all the live poker rooms at casinos around the State are looked at. After that you’ll find social poker games including home-games and bar leagues covered. Next up a look at internet poker can be found, will Missouri legalize online poker? At the bottom of this page you’ll find the important wording from the MO Statute books, followed up with a summary of the current state of play.

Live Poker Games In The State Of Missouri

There are currently 8 major poker rooms to choose from in Missouri. These include the big room at Kansas Cities’ Ameristar Casino. As well as Kansas, St Louis, St Charles, Maryland Heights and Caruthersville all have venues. You’ll find daily tournaments as well as bigger events when the Heartland Poker tour – in addition to cash games from $1 / $2 and up.

Rooms in Missouri were small-stakes only until 2008. This was because of a quirky law which limited the loss of a player to $500 per session. Obviously this ruled out bigger cash games or tournaments, where this kind of buy-in is considered mid-stakes. With this law repealed, Missouri were able to grow their casino poker rooms to the excellent range of venues they offer today.

Are Home Games Legal In Missouri?

You can legally play a home-game here. The usual stipulation that nobody can profit from running the game via raking pots or entry fees is in place. There is also a second rule in place, which states that the participants need to have a genuine social relationship. Exactly what counts is not defined in the Statutes – which could make things interesting if there were ever a court case involving a home game.

Bar poker leagues (with no buy-in) and Charity Poker events (where the profits go to good causes, though winners can receive prizes) are also available in this State.

Online Poker Games In Missouri

All is quiet when it comes to legislation for internet gambling in Missouri. No public discussion has taken place within the government, though on the other side there are no anti-gambling lobbies specifically targeting or preventing legislation in this State. Like many places, there is no reason why we could not see MO joining a future group of States once regulation is proven to be a safe and effective means to raise revenues. At the same time it seems very unlikely that Missouri will be one of the pioneers.

In the meantime, residents of this State are welcomed by the many offshore poker sites who welcome US players.

What Do The Missouri Gambling Statutes Say?

Many States aim the penalties for illegal gambling mainly at the organizers and those who are profiting from running the games. In Missouri there is very little in the way of legal distinction between the player and the organizers. You can see how the original Statutes were focused on deterring players by the way in which they criminalize professional gamblers just for making a living from playing the games!

Fortunately, there are relatively few prosecutions – and none under the ‘pro gambler’ clause in recent history. The laws here focus on gambling, with a broad definition which does look as if the chance factor is the main stipulation.

This is from Section 572-010, defining ‘Gambling’:

“…the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence…”

Whether the ‘Skill Game’ argument for poker could apply here appears to be down to the individual court’s decision. Remember that they have the backup of the ‘pro gambler’ clause even if you could prove that poker was a game of skill.

Missouri Poker – Summing It Up

The best way to sum up poker in Missouri is that a lot of great opportunities are provided, though the laws are strict outside of the games which are allowed. Since the $500 limit on losses was removed in 2008, the opportunities for poker fans in Missouri have exploded. The Ameristar Casino in particular is the center of a lot of action. You can also enjoy social home-games legally, as long as you know the people around you from outside of the game.

It does not look like Missouri will be an early adopter of regulated internet gambling. This State appear open to opportunities for relaxing their gambling laws. This makes it entirely possible that online poker games could reach MO at some point down the line.