Missouri Advances Sports Betting Bill to Senate Floor

On Tuesday, Missouri made significant progress towards legalizing sports betting as the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee approved HB2502, a sports betting bill. Despite the 8-1 vote in approval of the bill, legislators have insisted that there must be further modifications before it’s brought to the Senate floor. Still, this comes as significant progress in the state.

Missouri Sports Betting Advancing

House Bill 2502 was first introduced on January 19, 2022, and the Missouri House of Representatives passed it on March 24. HB2502 allows for 39 separate sportsbook skins distributed among Missouri’s 13 casinos and six professional sports organizations.

While the positive vote from Senate Appropriations members is significant, Senator Dan Hegeman still said the bill is a “work in progress.” The primary point of contention surrounds the proposed tax rate. It currently sits at 8%, but some lawmakers push for a higher rate. Some Senators have also requested more funding earmarked for problem gambling.

Tax Disputes the Big Hurdle

The big dilemma in the passage of legal sports betting in Missouri is the final tax rate. A Senate bill proposed earlier in 2022 would tax sports betting at a 21% rate, which is still lower than New York at 51% and Pennsylvania at 36%.

The House-backed 8% rate would be the third-lowest of any state. Representative Rogers of Kansas City proposed the 8% rate and says he wants to keep Missouri’s tax rate lower than Kansas. It’s reasonable to expect the final tax rate will land somewhere between 8% and 21%.

Kansas City Chiefs: Missouri vs. Kansas

At recent NFL meetings, Kansas City Chiefs team president Mark Donovan noted that the team is exploring options for a new stadium, including possibly moving the team out of state. The Chiefs’ current home of Arrowhead Stadium is one of the oldest in the NFL, as it opened in 1972. The Chiefs have a lease agreement for Arrowhead Stadium that runs through 2033.

At the public hearing for HB2502, one lawmaker asked Chiefs’ representatives why they should invest in a betting license for the team if they might relocate. The Chiefs’ Vice President of Civic Affairs, Anne Scharf, committed that the betting license would be contingent on the team staying in Missouri.

Kansas is expected to legalize sports betting next week, and they have proposed spending 80% of their tax revenue on a new NFL stadium to lure the Chiefs away from Missouri. Some of the urgency in Missouri’s legislative chambers has been due to the direct competition with Kansas.

Next Steps

Once HB2502 is sent to the Senate floor, it will be discussed and likely amended by lawmakers. After that process is complete, the amended bill will be sent back to the House of Representatives so the two branches can come to a consensus. Once the two branches agree, the finalized bill will be sent to Governor Mike Parson for signature.

The state’s legislative calendar doesn’t currently include a Senate vote, but House leadership will hold a conference committee once the Senate passes its amended bill. May 13 is the final day of the 2022 Missouri legislative session.

The Missouri State Legislature site lists August 28, 2022, as the proposed effective date, and there is certainly hope in the state that legal sports betting can launch before the start of the 2022-23 NFL season. For more information, please visit our Missouri sports betting page.

By www.lineups.com