The members of Missouri’s Special Interim Committee on Gaming seem focused on finding a model that gives sportsbooks a competitive product to keep Show-Me State residents away from offshore operators.
The latest hearing included testimony from multiple industry experts that all supported mobile Missouri sports betting and a competitive tax structure.
Chairman Dan Shaul recapped the three-hour meeting the best. He noted all in attendance wanted mobile MO sports betting without in-person registration, no limits on markets or teams, and no integrity fee or official league data mandate.
It’s vital to recall that a failed 2019 Missouri sports betting bill that included an integrity fee. It was one of the few in the country to attempt the concept last year.
Who appeared Thursday in Missouri
Along with lawyers and research companies, gaming companies represented Thursday included Boyd, DraftKings, FanDuel, Penn National and William Hill.
The committee seemed interested in doing things correctly and not waiting too long.
“I very much support legalized sports betting,” Rep. Wes Rogers said. “I think it’s insane that something happens this blatantly, this regularly that we’re not regulating it, we’re not taxing it, we’re not making sure players are getting fair play. It’s time to do it.”
The representative from Boyd Gaming said Missouri is already losing some of its gaming dollars to Iowa. Some Boyd customers in Missouri are making the trip for football on Saturdays and Sundays to place bets.
Looking at Missouri sports betting market
Missouri could expect $289 million in annual revenue at maturity if it allows land-based and mobile sports betting without in-person registration, according to Chris Krafcik, managing director of sports betting and emerging markets at Eilers & Krejcik.
That annual revenue figure drops to just $95 million without mobile, Krafcik said.
Krafcik also started much of the discussion on taxation and fees. He pointed to West Virginia‘s $100,000 license fee and 10% tax on revenue as a sensible example.
Remote mobile authorization a key
One of the clearest agreements of everyone was implementing remote registration for mobile Missouri sports betting.
Chris Cipolla, senior manager of government affairs at DraftKings, called out the struggles Rhode Island has had, as Legal Sports Report noted earlier this week. Less than half of everyone that’s downloaded the Rhode Island sports betting app completed the in-person registration at a casino.
An overwhelming amount of customers place wagers within minutes of getting their account approved, Cipolla added. In-person registration also means customers have less choice as the closest casino might not use the sportsbook operator a customer wants, he continued.
Rep. Jeff Shawan noted he wouldn’t be driving anywhere to complete something he should be able to do on his phone.
Paying leagues a no-go with operators
Boyd and Penn National were both against paying the leagues any more than they already do.
Penn National’s Head of Sportsbook Scot McClintic noted how his company already pays the leagues for their data. The deal with Sportradar already provides Penn National with official data from the NFL, NBA and MLB.
Companies should have the right to buy additional items, like the right to use trademarks, from the leagues. But it shouldn’t be required, McClintic said.
McClintic also explained how paying those fees could trickle down to the customer. Instead of offering lines at -110, that could rise to -115 or -120 with higher fees. Legal sportsbooks are then less competitive with offshore operators, he noted.
Both Boyd and Penn National said they couldn’t promise sportsbooks would open if an integrity fee appears. They also both said neither would trade sports betting for an expanded video lottery terminal market, another issue the committee is exploring.
The committee will meet again on Nov. 7 that will include testimony from MLB.