New Missouri Sports Betting Bill Starts Late Journey With Dim Hopes

Written By

Updated on

Missouri sports betting

With time running short in the Show-Me State, a lawmaker wants to break the legislative stalemate on Missouri sports betting.

Rep. Crystal Quade, the minority floor leader, carried her Missouri sports betting bill, HB 2835, during a public hearing Tuesday in the Special Committee on Innovation and Technology. Her bill combines sports betting with regulation for video lottery terminals (VLT) in the state. 

Quade’s proposal comes as Rep. Dan Houx’s bill remains on the informal perfection calendar on the House floor. Houx’s legislation has died in the Senate the past two years at the hands of Sen. Denny Hoskins, who hopes to tie sports betting to legalizing the slot machine-like VLTs found at retailers across Missouri.

The Missouri legislative session ends May 15.

New Missouri sports betting proposal

Quade said the sports betting and VLTs appear separate but have been tied up the last few sessions. She also acknowledged the ballot initiative that recently surpassed 300,000 signatures and could be up for a public vote in the November general election.

Quade said she is supportive of the ballot process but that if the legislature can give constituents what they want, it should. She said she has heard from voters in her district on both issues. 

Quade’s proposal includes Houx’s sports betting proposal. It also creates a regulatory framework for VLTs.

“We could really do something about freedoms in the state with sports betting and to protect our kids and create some revenue in the process,” she said. 

Houx’s sports betting framework

Quade’s bill’s sports betting portion mirrors Houx’s HB 2331. It allows for in-person sportsbooks at the state’s sports stadiums and casinos, and creates up to 39 skins for online sportsbooks.

The legislation carries a 10% tax on sports betting revenue.

For VLTs, the bill allows for local municipality control and requires a 1-mile halo around schools. Device operators would pay a 33% tax on revenue, along with a $100,000 annual license fee and a $500 administrative fee for each device.

Legislative stall in Missouri

Houx’s bill started quickly, advancing to the House floor in early February but has sat untouched since. In the past two years, Hoskins filibustered Houx’s bill, hoping to add VLT regulation to it

However, the VLT issue is a non-starter for other Senators. Hoskins, meanwhile, has said he will be an “obstructionist” until he gets his way.

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a co-sponsor of Houx’s proposal, told St. Louis Public Radio the legislative path could open next year with Hoskins serving his final year in the legislature. 

Missouri ballot campaign 

A coalition of Missouri sports teams started the Winning For Missouri Education campaign after last year’s legislative failure. It creates online and in-person sports betting licenses for the state’s 13 casinos and six sports teams.

It also creates two independent online skins and taxes sports betting at 10%.

Recent polls found more than 60% of voters support legalizing sports betting to benefit Missouri schools.