Missouri Pursues Legalization of Sports Betting

By: SportsHandle | Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Missouri Pursuing Multiple Avenues to Legalize Sports Betting

Though multiple bills to legalize sports betting in Missouri have stalled in committee, the state legislature did make a sliver of headway on the issue last week. Rather than pushing forward sports betting-specific bills, legislators met to discuss inserting new sports betting language into SB 767, a video gaming bill.

SportsHandle has confirmed that such language was added to the bill late last week as a substitute. What’s interesting about the amendment (4671S.09F), proposed by Senator Denny Hoskins (R-District 21), the author of Missouri sports betting bill SB 1013 is that it reflects the wants of the state’s casino gaming industry, but backs off of the “integrity fee” favored by the NBA and Major League Baseball. That fee is included in Hoskins’ SB 1013 and HB  2535 — the “Sports Betting and Sports Protection Act” — introduced earlier in the session by Rep. Dean Plocher (R-St. Louis), but the most recent amendment to SB 767 makes it appear that the state is heading in a different direction.

The state’s casino contingent did testify during a hearing in late February that it would support a bill with language similar to what’s now included in SB 767. The amendment, beginning with Section 313.1004 of the bill, was added during a hearing on March 6, but the bill has since been laid over and no additional action has yet been taken.

Missouri Sports Betting Legalization May Emerge Via ‘Missouri Video Lottery Control Act’

The amended bill mostly addresses how existing casinos would handle sports betting in Missouri in practical terms, including where sportsbooks could be located within existing facilities, the security and storage of revenue and the process of applying for a license. In addition, the new language specifies a $10,000 application fee and a $5,000 annual renewal fee as well as a tax rate of 12% on gross sports wagering revenue, plus a 2% “administrative fee.”

The amended bill, like others being considered across the country, would only become relevant should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the State of New Jersey in Murphy v NCAA, the case that could potentially overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the 1992 law that effectively bans sports betting outside of Nevada.

There are other bills floating around the Missouri legislature, more notably, Rep. Bart Korman (R-High Hill) introduced House Bill 2320 on Jan. 29. HB 2320 is a “placeholder” sports betting bill with little meat on the bones, but it opened the conversation.

According to the media packet provided by Hoskins’ office, an American Gaming Association (AGA) survey found that an estimated $2.8 billion is illegally bet by more than 1.3 million Missouri residents annually.

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