There have been a lot of changes to Missouri’s gaming industry since customers boarded a riverboat called the Admiral in the shadow of the Gateway Arch and began playing the first legal craps, blackjack and video poker 20 years ago today. Most of those changes have involved the casinos’ aggressive transformation from the romanticized riverboat fantasy to the Vegas-like glitz of Lumière Place that now towers in the Admiral’s place.
Casinos have provided some $4.7 billion to Missouri schools since 1994. Still, data supplied by the Missouri Gaming Commission shows the 13 casinos aren’t bringing in the reliably growing dollars that they used to for the taxpayers. The slump of the past few years, blamed on increased gaming competition regionally and on the national economic downturn, drove last year’s state portion of the casino tax to the lowest it has been since 2009.