Is Online Poker Legal in Missouri?
Missouri has perhaps some of the most in depth legislation surrounding gambling that I have ever seen, and the penalties are actually pretty harsh if you are caught gambling in an unregulated environment. Let’s take a little look at the laws in this state.
The definition of gambling in the legislation is pretty short and to the point and reads as the following:
a person engages in “gambling” when he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome. 
The cases that have come before the courts have indicated that a degree of skill can also be a factor in these games, as long as an element of chance is involved then the game could be defined as being illegal.
The penalties are pretty hard for gamers as well, particularly those that win big in an unregulated environment, you could probably end up with a maximum of four years in jail if you meet the following definition:
“Professional player” means a player who engages in gambling for a livelihood or who has derived at least twenty percent of his income in any one year within the past five years from acting solely as a player; 
Operators are subject to even tougher penalties in the eyes of the law, and this is actually a rather wide definition. In short, if a game happens in your premises, whether you run it or not, you will be subject to harsh penalties before the courts.
a person “advances gambling activity” if, acting other than as a player, he engages in conduct that materially aids any form of gambling activity. Conduct of this nature includes but is not limited to conduct directed toward the creation or establishment of the particular game, lottery, contest, scheme, device or activity involved, toward the acquisition or maintenance of premises, paraphernalia, equipment or apparatus therefor, toward the solicitation or inducement of persons to participate therein, toward the actual conduct of the playing phases thereof, toward the arrangement or communication of any of its financial or recording phases, or toward any other phase of its operation. A person advances gambling activity if, having substantial proprietary control or other authoritative control over premises being used with his knowledge for purposes of gambling activity, he permits that activity to occur or continue or makes no effort to prevent its occurrence or continuation. 
It is worth mentioning however that there doesn’t seem to be a real ‘attempt’ from the authorities to ensure this legislation is brought into force, there are very few gambling arrests each year considering the size of the state.
Casinos and Live Poker
In Missouri there are a number of tribal casinos and commercial casinos for those that are interested in playing a game of poker. Unlike some other states, Missouri actually gives a specific exemption in law for those that are looking to play in a social game. It reads as the following:
A person who gambles at a social game of chance on equal terms with the other participants therein does not otherwise render material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation thereof by performing, without fee or remuneration, acts directed toward the arrangement or facilitation of the game, such as inviting persons to play, permitting the use of premises therefor and supplying cards or other equipment used therein. 
Apart from that however, there is no specific mention of social gambling in the eyes of the Missouri legislature. There have been no arrests for social gambling in the state in recent years.
There are no mentions of playing online in the law, however, the government of Missouri have made it clear on a number of occasions that it would not be tolerated, and if we use the definition that I gave right at the start, it is fair to say that it would be illegal and charges do look to be brought in for the near future which would make it illegal.
There is a lot of opposition for regulation of online gambling in Missouri, which means that it is unlikely that it will be approved in the near future.