JEFFERSON CITY – With just days remaining in this year’s General Assembly, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) churches are being urged to contact their state senators and ask them to vote against House Bill 747 (HB 747).
HB 747 was sponsored by Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst, R-St. Louis. Its purpose is to permit casinos to accept credit cards and other credit instruments from gamblers in exchange for chips, tokens, or electronic tokens that can be used to continue their gambling after their cash is used up.
The legislation was approved 132-25 in the House of Representatives. It was sent to the Senate April 23.
“We have openly criticized this proposal each of the last several years,” said Kerry Messer, lobbyist for MBC’s Christian Life Commission.
“They respond that they have narrowed the scope of the proposal to prohibit such credit from being collateralized in an effort to argue that only wealthy people could qualify for such credit.
“However, the language in the proposal still allows casinos to use civil lawsuits to collect outstanding debt.”
Messer said the casino industry in Missouri has become so entrenched – as we have feared for years – that its people are seen and treated by the majority of the lawmakers as just another business which belongs to the state and local Chambers of Commerce.
“Our advocacy at this point is that debt collections from casinos must be limited to prohibiting civil attachments of real or personal property,” Messer said.
“In other words, our line in the sand is that no casino should be allowed to take someone’s home, business or farm away from them or their family.”
The closing date of this year’s General Assembly is May 17.