A Missouri sports betting proposal cleared the House and now joins other sports betting bills on an uphill path in the Senate.
The Missouri House passed HB 2502, 115-33, Thursday after representatives advanced the MO sports betting bill Wednesday. The bill is backed by a coalition of the state’s casinos and professional sports teams, as well as major sportsbook operators.
However, the path through the Senate appears to be more difficult, as committee discussions started earlier this month on three sports betting bills. Legislators in the chamber are split between two bills identical to the House version and another by longtime sports betting proponent Sen. Denny Hoskins, which includes a 21% tax rate and lottery retailers.
Details of Missouri sports betting bill
The bill legalizes retail sports betting at the state’s 13 riverboat casinos and creates 39 online skins for mobile wagering. Missouri’s six casino operators receive 33 of the skins, with the remaining skins awarded to the state’s six professional sports teams.
An amendment on the floor Wednesday from Rep. Wes Rogers lowered the bill’s tax rate from 10% to 8%, despite discussions in committee to potentially raise the rate. The main reason given was to be below the rates in proposed Kansas sports betting legislation.
“Missouri is a better state than Kansas in every possible way,” Rogers said. “Our tax rate should be lower.”
Official league data sticking point
During House committee hearings, Boyd Gaming was the lone casino operator in the state standing against the bill. The company’s main issue is an official league data mandate.
During Wednesday’s session, lawmakers discussed the issue at length. Several lawmakers are worried about how the rule will limit competition in the industry.
When asked if removing the official league data mandate would kill the bill, sponsor Rep. Dan Houx said he “would assume it’s a deal-breaker” with the coalition.
More problem gambling support in Missouri
Rep. Ben Baker passed an amendment to support problem gambling services.
The amendment adds a requirement for a gambling hotline number on all promotional materials. It also requires an annual research report on the effect of problem gambling in the state.
States around Missouri growing sports betting
Illinois already was one of the largest sports betting markets in the US before removing an in-person registration requirement earlier this month. On Wednesday, DraftKings announced a new retail sportsbook at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois, right across the Mississippi River from Missouri.
On its western border, the Kansas House began working on new sports betting bill this week. At least a few Missouri legislators appear more eager to usher the bill through knowing their neighbor might also legalize sports betting this year.