Missouri’s sports betting market could launch sooner rather than later if lawmakers push for the operation to begin in 2022. This marks the fifth consecutive time lawmakers will try to push for sports betting across the state, as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned in May 2018.
Several Sports Betting Bills Have Been Proposed
The Missouri Gaming Commission would be the department that oversees the rules and regulations for existing gambling boats to offer sports betting. Missouri Rep.Jim Murphy pre-filled HB 2144 on Tuesday as the eighth bill regarding sports betting for the upcoming legislative session.
Another important bill is Senate Bill 764, which Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer introduced. At least three bills are in consideration for the session that will end on May 20th. Sportsbook operators seeking to operate in the state would have to apply through the Missouri Gaming Commission to receive a license.
Operators must pay $50,000 for initial licensing fees and $40,000 per year after that. Other fees are included as $20,000 will go towards administrative costs and another $20,000 for renewal fees. Additional sports betting bills under consideration are Senate Bill 643 and House Bill 1666.
Rep. Phil Christofanelli’s tax rate plan would set the tax rate for the sportsbook operators at 6.75 percent. This number would be slightly below the national average, which is slated at seven percent. Luetkemeyer told the press that Missouri is losing tax dollars as people are crossing state lines to place wagers where sports betting is legal.
Sports betting is already legal in four neighboring states, with Nebraska pushing to be the fifth in 2022.
Christofanelli went on to say, “We’re increasingly seeing people in the state of Missouri who are leaving and going to those other states to place sportsbook bets, and that means we’re seeing money and tax revenue leave the state, money that would ordinarily go to schools.”
Why Missouri Could Be a Strong Asset to the Sports Betting Industry
The pressure is on the Missouri lawmakers to finally draw up sports betting legislation to make it legal in the state. Missouri is home to many collegiate and professional sports organizations across several leagues.
Missouri sports teams want sports betting to happen in the state as they are pushing for sports betting on their own. The Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals have a large fan base. The Kansas City Chiefs have clinched the division, and the Saint Louis Blues have the second-best record in the Western-Central Division.
These teams are backing several ballot initiatives that would only legalize mobile sports betting for professional teams.
In a joint statement those teams said, “Each of our organizations supports the legalization of sports wagering in Missouri as a way to increase engagement with our fans and provide a fun and exciting new way to enjoy sports and root for our teams. We also believe that sports wagering will generate a significant new source of tax revenue for Missouri.”