Missouri Casinos See Increase in December Revenue

Casinos in the Show-Me state ended 2021 on a high note. According to the latest numbers, Missouri’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR) increased by 7.6% from November to December. The $163.3 million AGR is the highest in the state since July. Now, casino operators will look to build on that momentum in 2022.

Missouri has a total of 13 commercial casinos throughout the state. It should come as no surprise that the casinos putting up the biggest AGR numbers are in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. The casino industry has been growing as a whole in Missouri. In terms of AGR, the December 2021 numbers increased by 21.8% compared to December 2020.

Gaming laws in Missouri do not allow online casinos to operate from within the state. However, it does not forbid citizens from accessing online gaming sites from elsewhere. This means residents can still win real money from some of the best online casinos in Missouri.

The US casino industry has been growing in general over the last several years. Casinos were able to rebound from a down year in 2020 when the pandemic restricted player access. Now, many casinos in the US are focusing on sustaining the industry’s growth. Missouri legislators could do their part by legalizing sports betting in the state. Many other states have seen huge boosts in revenue after they legalized sportsbooks.

Which Missouri Casinos are Performing the Best?

Missouri’s population of 6.1 million people is mostly divided between the two major cities in the state, St. Louis and Kansas City. In the east, the Greater St. Louis area houses approximately 2.8 million residents. Out west, the Kansas City metropolitan area is home to roughly 2.17 million people. As a result, it should come as no surprise that the casinos in KC and STL are generating a majority of the state’s AGR.

There were three casinos in the St. Louis area that broke the $20 million AGR mark. Ameristar Casino in St. Charles pulled in a total of $27.25 million in AGR, the highest in the state. River City was the next closest at $21.88 million and the Hollywood Casino was a close third with $20.35 million.

The Ameristar brand is also doing well on the western side of the state. Ameristar Kansas City raked in an AGR of $16.76 million. Harrah’s Kansas City was the next closest at $14.82 million. The Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville pulled in another $7.39 million.

Slot machines are by far the most popular way to gamble at Missouri casinos. There are almost 20,000 slot machines in total operating in the state’s casinos. From those machines, casinos generated $140.4 million in AGR. Table games, such as poker and blackjack, only generated $22.7 million. The hybrid machines at Ameristar St. Charles and Argost in Riverside produced just under $350,000 in AGR.

Can the Increase in Casino Revenues be Sustained?

A big increase in casino revenue to end the year is a good sign for the industry going into 2022. However, the question now will be whether casinos can sustain their progress. Many states in the US experienced success in 2021. However, casinos in other states have several advantages that Missouri casinos do not.

One major advantage some casinos have is the ability to operate sportsbooks. In Missouri, sports betting is not allowed, yet. Legislators could change that soon. Many of the professional sports teams in Missouri have been pushing for legalized sports betting. Surrounding states have already started to allow sports betting in one form or another. If legislators do not act quickly, they could see many bettors travel across state lines to place their wagers elsewhere.

Legalizing sports betting has proven to be a great source of income for many other states. Missouri could likely find similar success if they legalize the practice. Clarifying the state’s laws around online betting options could also go a long way toward sustaining the industry’s success. It would also allow future sportsbooks to offer online betting options. Other states, such as New York, have experienced immediate success when allowing online sports betting options.

Missouri Gambling Laws

Missouri’s lack of legal sports betting options is somewhat surprising. The Show-Me State has over a dozen casinos. However, Missouri’s gambling laws only allow for riverboat casinos. There were also a number of different regulations that limited industry in its early days. Since Missouri legislators removed betting limits in 2008, the casino industry has been on the rise.

Outside of riverboat casinos, bettors in Missouri have several other gaming options. Players can place wagers on horse races at licensed tracks in the state. Charitable bingo games are also allowed, as well as daily fantasy sports.

The state lottery in Missouri is also widely popular and contributes to funding the state’s educational programs. Since 1986, Missouri’s education funds have received more than $7 billion from the lottery.

Conclusion

The Missouri casino industry experienced an end of the year surge in AGR. According to the Missouri Gambling Commission, casinos in the Ozark State generated $163.3 million in AGR in December. That is an increase of 7.6% from November and an increase of 21.8% from December of 2020.

Of the 13 commercial casinos, over a third of the AGR was generated by three casinos in the St. Louis area. Ameristar in St. Charles, River City, and the Hollywood Casino all generated over $20 million each in AGR. Harrah’s and Ameristar Kansas City combined for over $31.5 million AGR in December.

Missouri’s strict gaming laws require that all betting take place on riverboat casinos. This means that the majority of the action is restricted to the banks of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Luckily, that is also where the majority of the state’s population lives.

To build on its recent success, Missouri legislators would likely need to loosen some of its gaming laws. Legalizing sports betting could go a long way in making the growth sustainable. Casinos would also benefit by the state officially legalizing online and mobile casino options.