Missouri Senators Prepare For Another Sports Betting Push In 2021

Posted on December 4, 2020 - Last Updated on December 6, 2020
Missouri sports betting
Posted By on December 4, 2020
Last Updated on December 6, 2020

Senators in Missouri are wasting no time in letting the legislature know they want to see sports betting legalized in 2021.

Three senators pre-filed sports betting bills for next year’s session:

  • Sen. Denny Hoskins filed SB 18
  • Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer filed SB 217
  • Sen. Caleb Rowden filed SB 256

That’s half of the action Missouri sports betting saw in the 2020 legislature, which had six bills filed.

Missouri will want to act quickly on sports betting so its potential tax dollars can stop flowing out of the state. Sports betting is off and running in four border states: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa and Tennessee.

Missouri sports betting legislation isn’t new

There’s no wonder the senators had their bills in so quickly after the Dec. 1 start to pre-file bills in Missouri. All three bills are identical to bills introduced last year.

That can be both good and bad.

The good is that the legislature will already be familiar with those proposals. The bad, of course, is that none of the bills were passed the first time legislators had a chance.

The coronavirus pandemic also had an impact on that, a sponsor told LSR at the time.

Problems in two of the three bills

Hoskins’ bill was SB 567 last year. The bill would legalize sports betting online, on casino boats as well as parlays through lottery retailers.

SB 18 proposes a $25,000 application fee and $50,000 annual license fee for online sportsbooks with revenue taxed 9%.

While the industry would likely love those figures, many likely will hate the required 0.25% integrity fee paid to sports leagues and the official league data requirement for in-play betting.

Luetkemeyer’s attempt last year was SB 754 and proposes to legalize sports betting online and at casinos. SB 217 charges $10,000 for the application and $5,000 for the annual license fee. Revenue would be taxed at 6.25%.

That again looks like a great start, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Operators must pay a 0.75% integrity fee to leagues and use official league data for in-play betting. It also bans prop betting on college sports.

New sponsor on best bill for industry

Of the three bills, the one the industry could like the most has a new sponsor.

Rowden’s bill is identical to HB 2318 last year from Rep. Phil Christofanelli which legalizes sports betting online and at casinos.

SB 256 suggests an application fee of $50,000, an annual license fee of $20,000, and a 6.75% tax rate.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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