Missouri Seeing Effects of Declining Casino Visits
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - A recent decline in Missouri's casino revenues is raising questions among lawmakers about the extent to which the state can continue to rely on gambling to fund key programs.
Attendance at Missouri's 13 casinos is down almost 9 percent from last year.
Missouri relies on two sources of casino revenues. A portion of a per-patron fee is used to pay for the operations of the Missouri Veterans Commission, which oversees seven nursing homes. A state tax on casino revenues helps fund public schools.
The House has approved an additional $22 million for public schools because of the funding shortfall and lawmakers are considering a temporary funding boost to help the veterans' homes.
State officials are citing this winter's cold weather among the causes for the revenue decline.