Missouri Senate Approves Truck Stop Pull-Tabs

One hundred pull-tab machines may show up at Missouri truck stops if the House approves a $30 billion Senate bill with a provision allowing the games. Missouri Senator Eric Burlison (l.) said the proposal “disgusted” him.

The Missouri Senate recently voted 21-10 to pass a $30 billion spending plan with a provision that would allow the Missouri Lottery to install 100 new pull-tab machines throughout the state, including truck stops, which could offer up to three machines. Currently only 500 of the games are allowed, exclusively at veterans and fraternal organizations. The legislation now moves to the House.

Allowing more pull-tab machines could help supplement education funding provided by the lottery, supporters argued. However, the concept provoked intense reactions from several legislators. State Senator Eric Burlison said the proposal “disgusted” him. “I’m not a fan of funding our schools through gambling,” he said. State Senator David Sater added, “This bothers me a lot. It would be a direct offense to our low-income people who will divert their money to things like this.”

State Senator Ed Emery stated, “This is a clear example of an expansion of gaming.” He added, “With people not thinking as straight as they normally would with all the pressures of the stay-at-home and lack of community and other things that would stabilize a person, I think the impact would be even greater than it would at another time.”

Lawmakers also recently put on hold efforts to ban unregulated, untaxed slot machines that have proliferated across the state and to launch sports betting.