Law would prevent welfare money being spent at casinos, liquor stores

Jan 21, 2013

A Missouri House bill aims to restrict the use of cash welfare benefits at casinos and liquor stores.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Representative Chrissy Sommer of St. Charles, says her measure is intended to comply with a federal law passed last year. That law requires states to adopt policies preventing welfare money from being spent on gambling and alcohol.

The Missouri measure directs the Department of Social Services to prevent electronic benefit cards that contain welfare benefits from being used at casinos or liquor stores. It would not stop welfare recipients from making cash withdrawals and then spending money at those locations.

Missouri has until 2014 to comply with the federal law or risk losing 5 percent of its federal funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.