Freeze on new rules could delay Missouri gambling expansion

A move by new Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens could affect what happens this year in the Missouri casino market.

Greitens, a Republican sworn in last week, almost immediately issued an executive order that freezes new rules and regulations for businesses in the state.

Affected are all state agencies, including the Missouri Gaming Commission, which makes and enforces rules governing the state’s 13 licensed casinos.

The move raises questions for agencies that are drawing up rules for many state programs. For example, the gaming commission is writing rules to regulate online fantasy sports betting that state lawmakers put in place last year.

Daniel Holmes, a gaming analyst, said the freeze could upend plans by casino operators to upgrade equipment or make other operational modifications.

Currently, Missouri casino revenue is experiencing modest growth. Gaming revenue among the state’s casinos in 2016 barely topped $1.7 billion, up by just 0.8 percent from the previous year, according to figures compiled by RubinBrown. Casino revenue rose by 2.5 percent in 2015.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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