Missouri Sports Betting Ballot Chances Rise, Legislative Path Remains Blocked

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Missouri sports betting

Missouri sports betting legislation continues on a seemingly doomed path this year despite rising public support for the issue. 

Rep. Dan Houx told LSR Monday the House will likely vote on his Missouri sports betting proposal, House Bill 2331, next week. His bill will more than likely transition to the Senate as it has the past two years.

Once there, however, Houx said he is unsure what will happen in the Senate. His political response comes as industry sources continue to be pessimistic Sen. Denny Hoskins will change his stance on sports betting legislation and allow a bill to pass.

“There’s a better chance of me winning the Powerball tonight,” one source said about the chances Hoskins relents.

Missouri sports betting bill hopes

This would be the third straight year Houx advanced sports betting legislation to the Senate. Houx’s proposal is backed by a coalition of sports teams, casinos and sportsbook operators.

Once in the upper chamber, Hoskins filibustered the previous two attempts in hopes of including video lottery terminal legalization. He said before this session that his stance would not change

There is little appetite from the broader legislature for the slot machine-like devices Hoskins wants to legalize. The issues are also beyond sports betting, as Senate President Caleb Rowden has taken action against a small group of his fellow Republicans, including Hoskins, for holding up the legislative process.

Between Hoskins’s opposition and the general Senate dysfunction, sports betting legislative prospects continue to look dim in Missouri.

Sports betting ballot petition underway

The same teams behind Houx’s proposal are also pushing a ballot initiative to legalize Missouri sports betting. Winning for Missouri Education’s petition is circulating in the state to put the question on November’s ballot. 

A new poll by FOX 4 and Emerson College found 62% of Missouri adults favor legalizing sports betting to help fund education. That figure is up significantly from polls in years past, including one last year that found only 26% of Missourians supported legalized sports betting.

“Each year that goes by without legalized sports betting, Missouri loses out on tens of millions of dollars that should be helping fund Missouri education,” Winning for Missouri Education spokesman Jack Cardetti said in a release. “As this week’s Super Bowl will highlight, Missourians are already placing billions of dollars in bets annually on illegal, offshore websites or in neighboring states, without a penny currently going to our classrooms.

“Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Missourians in every corner of the state want to bring those economic impacts back to the Show Me State to help strengthen our communities and provide tens of millions to education each year.” 

Missouri ballot question details

The ballot proposal would create online and in-person sportsbook licenses for the 13 casinos and six teams. The Missouri Gaming Commission could also award two licenses to sportsbook operators.

Missouri would tax sports betting revenue at 10%

Last month, DraftKings and FanDuel donated $2 million in cash to the ballot effort.