- Voters must amend the constitution to bring a casino to the area.
- One of four petitions is on the table.
- At least 170,000 signatures are needed for the bill to become law.
An effort has been in the works for quite some time to bring a Missouri casino to the Lake of the Ozarks.
Yesterday, the effort gained ground as the Secretary of State’s office approved language for a proposed ballot measure. Supporters can now select a proposed petition and try to obtain 170,000 signatures to see the initiative on the 2024 ballot. The bill becomes law if 50% or more of the voters say yes.
Moving Forward with the Casino Project
Osage River Gaming is the backer of the petition, with representative Tim Hand stating that he thinks a decision will be made on which petition to use in about two weeks. The new casino would be located on a section of Osage River, down from the Bagnell Dam.
The amendment change would add another riverboat gaming license to the state. However, real money casinos do not necessarily have to be a floating structure because of the fluctuating water levels of the lake.
If the change is approved, it would require all state tax revenues that are collected from the industry to go towards education spending. This will include literacy programs and teacher salaries. The casino is expected to bring in around $14 million annually.
Third Time Wasn’t a Charm
Earlier this year, officials tried to pass a measure to add a casino in the area, but lawmakers could not agree on a measure to move forward with casino plans. Back in 2020, bills related to an Ozark casino also died, along with one in 2022 as well. It seems the ballot initiative may be the only way the casino can come to fruition if the voters have a say.
Along with a state-regulated casino in the works, the Osage Nation tribe hopes to build a casino in Lake Ozark. The tribe is already preparing a site for the casino but has yet to receive approval on a state and federal level.
Now, the effort has to wait and see if enough registered voters will sign the petition and it will be approved for the ballot. If so, then residents will be able to vote on a 14th casino for Missouri. It is unclear if there is enough support for a casino in the area for the initiative to gain ground. We will see how the project progresses in the coming weeks.