Sports Betting Bills Gaining Traction in Missouri: New Updates

Missouri Looking to Legalize

Missouri is now a legitimate contender in joining the sports betting wave following the House Special Committee on Public Policy’s approval on two identical sports betting bills that are now awaiting further approval from the Administrative Oversight Committee. 

The bills, HB2502 and HB2556 aim to legalize both retail and online sports betting in the state of Missouri. The House Special Committee on Public Policy added amendments to HB2502 to “merge” the two identical proposals and now HB2502 is the primary bill considered on the issue. The current bill is sponsored by Reps. Phil Christofanelli and Dan Houx.

The bill would enact a 10% tax rate on sports betting operators as well as licensing fees upon the state’s approval to operate. Casinos would face a $100,000 licensing fee and mobile operators would have to cough up $150,000 to operate in the state. Both casinos and mobile platforms would have to pay an extra $125,000 for yearly renewal. 

Executive Director of Missouri’s Gaming Association Mike Winter expects $15 million in tax revenue to be generated for the state, annually. In an amendment in the initial hearing, $500,000 of that revenue that the state receives will be given to tackle gambling issues in the state, double what it was prior to the hearing. 

The Major Players in Missouri 

Missouri has six casino operators in the state that run 13 riverboat casinos and retail sportsbooks could get licensing at any of the riverboat casinos for operation. The state would also award 39 online skins – six would go to Missouri’s professional sports teams (one skin each) and the other 33 would be divided among the state’s casino operators. The six operators that regulate the casinos in Missouri are Affinity Gaming, Bally’s Corporation, Boyd Gaming Corporation, Caesars Entertainment Inc., Century Casinos Inc., and Penn National Gaming Inc.

Additionally, all six of the state’s professional sports teams have expressed their support for the bills, which includes the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis City FC, St. Louis Blues, and the Kansas City Current. The teams and their respective sports stadiums may implement sports betting lounges but there are no plans for sports betting windows or kiosks. Native tribes of the state have also given their stamp of approval for the industry to commence. 

Looking Ahead

While the future does look bright for Missouri, they have to act fast. The Missouri legislative session ends on May 13, which doesn’t give them a whole lot of time to get it passed through the Administrative Oversight Committee, the House, the Senate and into the hands of Governor Mike Parson. 

They would be joining several of their neighboring states in regulating a legal sports betting market in their state. Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, and Tennessee have all set examples for a successful launch for Missouri as they embark on their sports betting journey. Supporters of the bill are excited to see Missouri sports fans support their economy instead of crossing state lines to place bets or even worse, placing bets with offshore books.