Poll: Missouri Sports Betting Support Clears Major Threshold

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Missouri sports betting

With Missouri sports betting legislation stalled, public support continues to grow for the issue. 

Saint Louis University and YouGov released a poll last week showing 60% of Show-Me State voters are in support of legalizing Missouri sports betting to fund public education. The poll comes as a Winning for Missouri Education spokesperson said a ballot petition to place the matter before voters in November is ahead of schedule.

“This most recent poll underscores that now is the time for Missouri to generate tens of millions in education funding each year by finally legalizing sports betting,” Jack Cardetti said in a release. “Missourians want a legal, safe way to bet on sports, while also boosting our economy, and supporting Missouri students and teachers.”

A House sports betting bill, HB 2331, is waiting for its third reading while the Missouri legislature is on spring break for the session that runs until May 17. Similar legislation passed the House both of the past two years but died in the Senate, the most likely outcome again this year.

Missouri sports betting poll details

The SLU and YouGov survey interviewed 900 likely voters about various Missouri ballot issues between February 14 and February 26. Sports betting also enjoys bipartisan support, with 66% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans in favor of the issue.

The poll found 25% of Missourians are opposed to legalizing sports betting. In January, a poll from Fox 4 and Emerson College reported a similar 62% result in favor of sports betting.

YouGov’s research was done through its online “proprietary opt-in survey panel consisting of 3.1 million United States Residents.” The survey firm then used gender, age, race and education to select its cohort to represent Missouri voters according to a variety of data sets, including public voter file records. The margin of error for the weighted data is 3.74%, according to YouGov.

Ballot initiative moving forward

Missouri’s six professional sports teams are driving Winning for Missouri Education. To be on the November ballot, the petition needs to secure more than 170,000 voter signatures from across the state by May 5

In a late February announcement, the coalition announced it had gathered 100,000 signatures.

There are plans to collect approximately 300,000, to ensure enough valid signatures are acquired.

MO sports betting details

If the question makes it on the ballot, the proposed initiative legalizes sports betting through the Missouri Gaming Commission

The state’s six teams and 13 casinos could operate online and in-person sportsbooks. There would also be two independent licenses available through the gaming commission.

It also creates a 10% tax on sports betting revenue.

Sports betting legislative dead-end

Rep. Dan Houx has successfully navigated his legislation, supported by the state’s teams and casinos, through the House for two straight years and is on the verge of doing so again this session. It sits on the formal calendar for third reading on the House floor when legislators return Monday.

Sen. Denny Hoskins, however, has pledged to be an “obstructionist” until his demands are met. While a supporter of MO sports betting, his legislation also includes video lottery terminal legalization. 

He killed the House proposal in the Senate in each of the past two years. Hoskins is a major reason the ballot initiative began last summer.

While legislative appetites are low for the slot machine-like VLTs, the SLU/YouGov poll found 54% of voters support legalizing the machines at bars, truck stops, fraternal organizations and veteran organizations.