SPONSOR: Mathewson (Treadway)

COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Professional Registration and Licensing by a vote of 13 to 0.

This substitute makes several changes to gaming provisions. In its main provisions, the substitute:

(1) Transfers all unobligated funds in the Gaming Commission Bingo Fund to the Gaming Commission Fund on August 28, 2000. On June 30, 2001, the Gaming Commission Bingo Fund will be abolished;

(2) Extends to January 1, 2005, the expiration date of the requirement of the state lottery to award certain percentages of its contracts and subcontracts to women- and minority-owned businesses;

(3) Allows tokens to be physical or electronic;

(4) Requires excursion gambling boat licensees to develop a system which allows patrons the option of prohibiting licensees from using identifying information for marketing purposes;

(5) Requires applicants for licensure or license renewal to provide an affirmative action plan to the Missouri Gaming Commission and to report on the plan's effectiveness to the commission at renewal periods. The commission must report the licensee's information in its annual report to the Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering;

(6) Adds commission-approved persons or entities as eligible to supply gambling games or implements;

(7) Authorizes the commission without limitation to deny a license to an applicant based solely on the fact that there is evidence that the applicant has engaged in certain activities, including being suspended from operating a gambling boat in another jurisdiction or making a false statement of a material fact to the commission;

(8) Authorizes the commission to deny an application for an applicant's act or failure to act that is injurious to public health, safety, morals, good order, or general welfare or would tend to discredit the gaming industry or the state. Current law applies penalties only to licensees if they engage in this conduct;

(9) Allows the bond or surety posted to the commission by the licensee to be used to guarantee the completion of any expansion or modification of a boat in a time period approved by the commission or August 28, 2004, whichever is later. Failure to complete the approved expansion or modification within the specified period is sufficient grounds for nonrenewal of a license;

(10) Makes it a class B misdemeanor to present false identification in order to gain entrance to a gambling excursion boat;

(11) Requires $1 of the $2 admission fee paid to the Gaming Commission to be paid to the Gaming Commission Fund and 1 cent of each dollar to be deposited in the Compulsive Gamblers Fund;

(12) Extends the period of time within which a licensee may request tax reassessment from 10 days to 20 days from the postmarked date;

(13) Repeals the provision requiring the Gaming Commission to make annual reports to the Governor and the General Assembly;

(14) Specifies a penalty for permitting or aiding persons under 21 years of age to make a wager and persons younger than 21 years making or attempting to make a wager. The first offense is a class B misdemeanor; second and subsequent violations are class A misdemeanors;

(15) Requires the commission to promulgate rules allowing persons to voluntarily exclude themselves from excursion gambling boats. If such a person enters a gambling boat, he or she is guilty of first-degree trespassing (class B misdemeanor) and will forfeit all chips, tokens, and electronic gaming credits in his or her possession at the time the person is discovered. The commission will establish by rule the procedure for forfeitures; and

(16) Allows excursion gambling boats to offer child care for their employees, as long as the services are approved by the Department of Health. Child care services may be offered to patrons if the child care facility is at least 8,000 square feet and is approved by the Department of Health.

FISCAL NOTE: Not available at time of printing.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that this is basically the same bill that was vetoed by the Governor last year. The provisions on which the Governor based his veto are removed. The bill also makes some needed improvements, places responsibility on both parties in the case of underage persons in casinos, and earmarks some funds for gamblers anonymous.

Testifying for the bill were Senator Mathewson; Missouri Riverboat Gambling Association; Missouri Gaming Commission; Missouri Council on Problem Gambling; Casino Watch; and Station Casinos Inc.

OPPONENTS: There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Bob Dominique, Legislative Analyst