CasiNO Watch, Inc.
Evelio Silvera, Executive Director
Legislative Report: SB430 AND HB1287

As we inch closer to the close of the 2007 Missouri legislative session, we are optimistic yet continue to be vigilant.

This past week, the focus of the Senate was on finalizing the state budget by the deadline set in the state constitution. We made sure to examine several of the budget proposals that might include wording that would lead to the expansion of gambling. We continued providing information and resources to Senators that were concerned that SB430, which would remove the loss limit, would be brought up for a final vote.

We also took advantage of this time to speak with and educate several members of the House of Representatives, on the dangers of removing the loss limit and expanding gambling in Missouri. The House continues dealing with HB1287, sponsored by Rep. Shannon Cooper, which would limit the amount of fines that the Missouri Gaming Commission can levy against casinos. This bill was passed by the Special Committee on General Laws and is awaiting future action. While the bill does encourage for a clarified fine and appeals process it leaves the Missouri Gaming Commission unable to levy necessary and sufficient fines to punish casinos that break the law. In its current state, Casino Watch is opposed to HB1287.

As you may know, May 18 is the last day of the legislative session, so this final week in Jefferson City is set to be fast paced as both the Senate and the House seek to push through pending legislation. Always a cause for concern during the last days of the session is the possibility that legislators will attach pro-gambling, pro-casino amendments to "must-pass" bills. Often times, in the hustle and bustle of the closing days and hours, legislators are successful in slipping in a few "adjustments" to the laws of Missouri in order to please the special interests. Casino Watch has been and will continue to keep a close eye on the activity of the Missouri Senate and House to ensure that pro-gambling, anti-family amendments don't sneak their way through the legislature.