Missouri Sports Betting Ballot Initiative Hits Initial Signature Goal

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Missouri sports betting

With Missouri sports betting legislation still stalled in the House, a ballot initiative continues to push forward past another key milestone. 

Winning For Missouri Education announced Wednesday it surpassed its initial goal of 300,000 signatures in its effort to put a Missouri sports betting question on the November 2024 ballot. To place it on the ballot, the campaign must turn in more than 170,000 valid signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State by May 5.

The milestone comes as a House proposal, which passed the chamber the past two sessions, remains stalled in the lower chamber as Sen. Denny Hoskins waits to derail it once again. The legislative session adjourns May 17.

Missouri sports betting ballot push

The six professional sports teams in Missouri began a ballot push last year after the legislature failed to pass their preferred legislation for a second straight year. That proposal is the same as the one waiting for House action, HB 2331, which passed the Rules Committee February 12.

The ballot question would legalize sports betting under the Missouri Gaming Commission. Despite already having more than 170,000 signatures, the campaign plans to secure 325,000 before the May 5 date.

“The tremendous support we’ve seen throughout the state is a testament to Missourians’ readiness to bring sports betting revenue home and support our local schools, students and teachers in the process,” Winning for Missouri Education spokesperson Jack Cardetti said in a release. “As the campaign approaches our goal of putting this on the November ballot, Missouri is a step closer to allowing Missouri adults to bet on sports while generating tens of millions in annual funding for our classrooms.”

MO sports betting ballot proposal details

The proposal would create online and in-person sportsbook licenses for the state’s 13 casinos and six professional sports teams. 

The Missouri Gaming Commission could also award two independent online licenses. 

The state would tax sports betting revenue at 10%.

Support for Missouri sports betting

Multiple polls released this year found a majority of Missouri voters support legalizing sports betting to benefit Missouri schools.

Both Emerson College and Saint Louis University found more than 60% of Missourians support the initiative.

Those polls came out in February and March, respectively. 

Legislative inaction in Missouri

While House leadership has kept HB 2331 on the informal perfection calendar, there is no rush to advance the bill to the Senate. In the upper chamber, Hoskins, the lawmaker who has killed the proposal the past two sessions, awaits.

He pledged to be an obstructionist until he gets his way, which is including video lottery terminals (VLT) in the sports betting legislation. However, other lawmakers are not amendable to the idea.

While the ballot initiative could succeed, if it does not, a legislative pathway might open next year. Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a supporter of the sports team proposal, told local media that with Hoskins serving his final term this year, sports betting legislation could pass next year.

“My belief is the people who are supportive of that will want to try to attach it to the bill, but they’re not going to go the next step further, which is if they cannot attach a VLT amendment to a clean sports wagering bill, they won’t stand up and kill the underlying legislation,” Luetkemeyer told St. Louis Public Radio.