Can Latest Missouri Sports Betting Negotiations Save Bill?

Written By Pat Evans on May 5, 2022
Missouri sports betting

Missouri lawmakers are still working to close the gap on sports betting.

Sen. Denny Hoskins brought a new Missouri sports betting proposal to the Senate floor late Wednesday night but pulled it back before a vote. Hoskins did not include video lottery terminals in the offer but was still met with opposition.

“The teams and some of the casinos expressed support for the deal, however, some of the casinos are against the deal,” Hoskins wrote in an email to LSR Thursday. “I offered the sportsbook only deal last night on HB 2400 as an amendment. Unfortunately some of the casinos encouraged a couple of my colleagues to filibuster my sportsbook only amendment.”

Last week, Hoskins threatened to kill sports betting legislation if it did not include VLTs. The issue emerged as the Senate discussed HB 2502, which already passed the House and a Senate committee.

Can Missouri lawmakers beat the deadline?

Rep. Dan Houx, the author of HB 2502, said there is still a deal in the works to get MO sports betting finished this year.

Several industry sources tell LSR they are hopeful there will be an agreement before the session ends May 13. While sports betting could be discussed at any time, the Senate is likely focused on the budget for the rest of this week.

“They still have all next week to get a deal done, so I am still optimistic,” Sportradar Head of Government Affairs Brandt Iden said. “They’re close.”

Coming together in Missouri

Houx’s proposal was one of several bills filed this year backed by a coalition of Missouri sports teams, casinos and national sportsbooks. It legalizes retail sports betting at the 13 Missouri casinos, and splits 39 online skins amongst the casino operators and sports teams while carrying a 10% tax rate.

Hoskins filed a competing bill earlier this session. Along with legalizing online sports betting through the casinos, that bill carried a 21% tax rate and allowed retail lottery locations to offer parlay bets. His offer Wednesday night included a 15% tax rate and an annual licensing fee of $1.25 million, up from $150,000.

The main conflict points in the proposals remain:

  • Tax rate
  • Skin fee
  • Parlays through the lottery

Missouri sports betting path so far

The coalition proposal came forward in both chambers at the beginning of the session and picked up steam through the House with Houx’s bill.

Last week, Hoskins filibustered the legislation on the Senate floor, hoping to include language legalizing VLTs, which are gaming machines often located at truck stops and fraternal and veterans’ organizations.

According to an appearance on a local radio show last week, Hoskins is also not looking to cater to the state’s casino industry, which helps explain his higher tax rates and VLT and lottery inclusions.

The lines of communication remain open for all parties in Missouri, but some key differences are still in the way as the session nears its finish.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-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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