Legislation Would Establish Credit Line for High-Stakes Gamblers

Related Story

COLUMBIA - A new piece of legislation would allow high-stakes gamblers to establish a credit line at Missouri casinos.

The legislation would allow casinos to extend a line of credit to those gambling at least $10,000 as an unsecured, no-interest loan.

Though it is meant to attract high rollers at Missouri casinos, the Chair of the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling Keith Spare said this could be detrimental for those with a gambling addiction.

"So making gambling access to money easier, to me, is pretty much like putting razor blades in a suicide board... for the problem gambler," Spare said.

Spare said problem gamblers are not those who gamble one time, even if it is a lot of money, "It's when you continually go back no matter the cost to you and your family."

Spare added about ten percent of the gambling population are problem gamblers.

"Among every population of gamblers, there's a percentage for whom this is going to be devastating... and again, devastating," Spare said. "It's going to cost them their family, their job, their lives, everything."

Spare recommends problem gamblers should seek a "Gamblers Anonymous" group or call the Missouri Lottery Commission's "Bets Off" hotline at 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633) to talk to someone.

The bill passed through the state Senate 24-9 in early April. House members passed it 125-21 on Tuesday. Now, the legislation awaits Governor Jay Nixon's approval.

Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois all have similar bills.

The credit line would not be available to intoxicated patrons.