House Missouri Sports Betting Bill Gets Hearing, Senate Challenge Looms

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Missouri sports betting

At least one Missouri sports betting bill will begin its journey next week. 

The Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee will hear HB 556 on Thursday, Feb. 9. The bill is Rep. Dan Houx’s newest effort for MO sports betting after his legislation cleared the House last year.

Houx’s bill ran into a Senate roadblock, as Sen. Denny Hoskins hoped to include video lottery terminals (VLT) in the law. Hoskins introduced a new sports betting bill this year, which was referred to the Appropriations Committee.

Missouri House effort mirrors 2022

Like last year, a coalition of Missouri casinos and sports teams and US sportsbooks backs Houx’s bill.

The bill creates 39 mobile skins and allows for retail sportsbooks at the state’s 13 riverboat casinos.

The legislation would tax sports betting revenue at 10%, a rate that eventually lowered to 8% during the 2022 session. Houx also inserted language this year to prohibit prop bets on college athletes.

Senate slow to take up Hoskins bill

Despite carrying the honors of SB 1, Hoskins’s bill has not received much action yet. Hoskins kept the sports betting portion of the bill in line with what casinos and sports teams desired.

However, the bill includes language to legalize VLTs, which he argues have much greater tax-generating potential.

The casino industry strongly opposes the inclusion of VLTs and the issue created gridlock in the Senate last year. Hoskins told LSR in December he does not believe a sports betting-only bill would have enough votes to pass both chambers.

Industry cautious on Missouri sports betting

At times during the last legislative session, it appeared Missouri was on track to legalize sports betting, spurred by its competitive nature with its neighbor, Kansas. While Kansas sports betting launched in September, the outlook for Missouri sports betting is less rosy, in large part because of the VLT issue.

An industry source told LSR they assume the House bill will pass through the chamber without issue. “[The] issue will be the Senate,” the source said. 

Several sources said there is no way the casinos accept a compromise including VLTs. One source said while Penn Entertainment and MGM might soften their stance on VLTs, “there is no way Boyd and Caesars are going along with it.”