Senate Discussion Starts Up On Missouri Sports Betting Bills

Written By Pat Evans on March 14, 2022
Missouri sports betting

With a Missouri House bill on the move, a Senate committee heard three separate sports betting bills for the first time Wednesday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee discussed three MO sports betting bills, including two bills that mirror the legislation moving along in the House. The committee did not take action on the bills Wednesday.

“We think this compromise bill is one of the best bills in the country. We think it addresses the issues most important to us,” Sports Betting Alliance President Jeremy Kudon, who spoke in support of SB 1046 and SB 1061, which are the identical bills.

House bill also advances

As the Senate works out its differences, HB 2502 advanced to the House floor Tuesday after the Administrative Oversight Committee passed it forward, 13-1.

The House is on spring break this week, but sponsor Rep. Dan Houx expects it will be taken up shortly after that.

“I feel confident we’ll get it out of the House,” Houx told LSR this week.

Missouri Senate bill hearing

Like Houx’s House bill, SB 1046 and SB 1061 are backed by a coalition that includes the state’s professional sports teams, casinos and the Sports Betting Alliance. They are sponsored by Sen. Dan Hegeman and Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, respectively.

The proposals would legalize retail sports betting at the state’s 13 casinos. There would also be 39 online skins, including one to each of the six professional teams in the state and the rest split among the six Missouri casino operators.

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

“We want to make sure there is no temptation for fans to go to other states for better pricing, or have taxes choke the economics of the operators who we need to be successful,” St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said in his support of the bills.

MO lottery sports betting bill

The third bill, SB 643, by Rep. Denny Hoskins would legalize retail sports betting at the state’s casinos and gives them each an online skin. It also allows the lottery to offer retail parlay bets.

Hoskins’s bill includes a higher tax rate, 21%, that matches the current tax rate levied on casino gaming revenue.

Hoskins highlighted the differences in tax revenue projections between the two proposals. A legislative fiscal note estimates the Hoskins proposal could bring up to $163 million to the state. Luetkemeyer said the other legislation could generate up to $21 million for the state.

House bill goes to floor

On the House side, Tuesday’s vote with no discussion came less than a week after HB 2502 passed out of the Special Committee on Public Policy. There it received a few amendments, including merging with the identical HB 2556.

That committee’s chair, Rep. Dan Cupps, still wants a payment of some sort for rural counties where bets are made. 

“We’re working through that,” Houx said. “We don’t believe it’s constitutional.” 

Outstanding Missouri sports betting issues

Houx said there is still some hesitancy on the proposed tax.

While acknowledging it is lower than some legal jurisdictions, he believes it is in line with neighboring states like Iowa and Illinois.

Houx is also unsure of how a Senate bill will ultimately compare to his legislation.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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