With the exception of a few possible tweaks, a Missouri law established 18 months ago that allows well-heeled casino patrons to be issued credit, is working as intended according to casino operators.
In July 2014, provisions went into effect for seven of the state’s 13 casinos to be able to offer customers lines of credit as long as they are qualified to borrow a minimum of $10,000, and are able to repay it within 30 days. Pinnacle Entertainment vice president of government relations and public affairs Troy Stremming said that some gamblers who are credit-worthy and may only want a few thousand dollars might be turned off by the current threshold, and may find the idea of having to jump through hoops to prove they qualify for $10,000 unappealing. Stremming added, “It’s something we’re going to be speaking to legislators about,” Stremming said. “I can’t speak for other gaming companies, but it is certainly something Pinnacle properties will be pursuing,” according to the Associated Press.
Pinnacle owns the three highest-grossing gambling venues in Missouri including, River City Casino in St. Louis and the Ameristar casinos in Kansas City and the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles. Calling it proprietary information, Stremming would not divulge just how much has been borrowed or how many have taken advantage of the new provisions.
The aim of the credit measure was to allow well-to-do patrons from having to withdraw money from their banks accounts for gambling money or bring large sums of cash with them to gamble. The credit is offered at seven casinos which are located in St. Louis or Kansas City, where entertainment venues and professional sports teams attract people from across the country. (It remains to be seen how much effect the St. Louis Rams leaving Missouri and returning to Los Angeles will have on the state.) According to Stemming, high rollers who are established patrons at the company’s casinos in other states comprise the majority of the customers who opt for credit lines at Pinnacle’s Missouri properties. While patrons seeking a line of credit must qualify for a minimum of $10,000, they are able to borrow less. The current law prohibits intoxicated patrons from being extended credit, the credit offered in interest-free.
Missouri Gaming Commission, the state’s gambling regulator, spokeswoman LeAnn McCarthy said the agency doesn’t keep track of the amount of credit extended to casino patrons, nor does it lend a position to whether any changes should be made to the requirements. The Argosy Casino’s vice president of marketing, Tom Teesdale, said the 2014 law helped casinos in Missouri to lure high-end gamblers from other markets so they can compete.
Under Oklahoma and Illinois state law, casinos are permitted to offer lines of credit, while in Kansas and Iowa they are not.