Missouri Sports Betting Ballot Petitions Turned In Ahead of Deadline

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Missouri Sports Betting

The Missouri sports betting ballot initiative took another step toward the ballot last week, thanks to a special delivery from mascots. 

Three mascots from Missouri professional sports teams delivered more than 340,000 voter signatures for the Winning For Missouri Education campaign to the Missouri Secretary of State on Thursday.

The campaign had to turn in more than 170,000 valid signatures by May 5 to qualify for the ballot in November. The question will allow voters to weigh in on whether Missouri sports betting should be legal.

“As one of only 12 states without legalized sports betting, Missouri took a significant step forward today in ensuring that these revenues stay in Missouri to help our communities and classrooms,” Winning for Missouri Education spokesman Jack Cardetti said in a written statement. “We are grateful for the support from Missouri’s professional sports franchises, who have been crucial in creating the opportunity for Missourians to vote directly on this issue in November.”

Special Missouri sports betting delivery 

Missouri professional sports teams are behind the ballot initiative. They are also behind a legislative proposal that has stalled the past three years because of Sen. Denny Hoskins.

Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III told LSR last year the six Missouri teams would push the ballot initiative this year.

Mascots from the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Blues joined the Cardinals’s Firebird to deliver boxes of petitions to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

Missouri sports betting legislative roadblock

The ballot push emerged because the Missouri legislature has not passed sports betting. The past two sessions saw a House bill fail in the Senate as Hoskins has pledged to be an obstructionist until video lottery terminal, or VLTs, legalization is included in the legislation.

That addition is a nonstarter for most legislators. Rep. Dan Houx guided the same sports betting legislation to the House floor again this session, but it has not been sent to the Senate.

House Minority Floor Leader Rep. Crystal Quade introduced a bill late this session that legalizes both sports betting and VLTs. The session adjourns May 15.

Missouri voters ready to weigh in

Multiple polls this year have found Missouri voters support legalizing sports betting to benefit the state’s education. In polls released in February and March, respectively, Emerson College and Saint Louis University both reported at least 60% of Missourians support the issue.

If passed, the ballot question would legalize sports wagering under the Missouri Gaming Commission. It would allow the state’s 13 casinos and six professional sports teams to operate in-person and online sportsbooks.

The Missouri Gaming Commission also could allocate two additional online sportsbook licenses. It creates a 10% tax on sports betting revenue.