Signs of Life For Missouri Sports Betting Emerge But How Soon?

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Missouri sports betting

With Kansas sports betting up and running, Missouri wants to catch up but is missing some key support.

Missouri Rep. Dan Houx is making a push to have a sports betting bill, HB 4,  included during a special legislative session this month. Gov. Mike Parson called the session to discuss tax cut proposals and a spokesperson released a statement that suggested MO sports betting will not be included.

The Emerging Issues Committee largely rehashed the spring’s failed legalization push while hearing Houx’s bill Monday and did not take action. If the issue does not move in the special session, Houx said he will introduce a Missouri sports betting bill in January.

“It’s been the number one topic constituents ask about this summer,” Houx told LSR Monday. “We’re just trying to keep it in the forefront of people’s minds. Do I think the governor will expand the session? I don’t know if he will, but it doesn’t sound like it. It’s not something I’ll be aggressive to make happen if not.”

Kansas makes Missouri jealous

Since Kansas sports betting launched Sept. 1, more than 340,000 Missourians have attempted to access KS sportsbooks, according to GeoComply. In Kansas, more than 2.4 million bets were placed since the market opened, according to the Kansas Lottery.

“It definitely tells me people want this,” Houx said. “We know it’s a revenue generator. Besides tax revenue, we’re missing residual revenue. Missourians are going to Kansas, spending time at Top Golf, four to five hours, having beers, burgers and trying to place bets.”

Legislators from both states were eager to beat the other one to legal sports betting this year. Unlike their Missouri counterparts, Kansas lawmakers were able to put together a deal to cross the finish line.

Missouri sports betting set for 2023?

Houx shepherded a bill through the House in 2022, and is backed by a coalition of the state’s casinos and professional sports teams. The effort ultimately ran into a roadblock when the Senate wanted to include a provision legalizing video lottery terminals (VLT) and raise the tax rate from 10% to 21%.

Houx said a sports betting bill likely will be the only piece of legislation he files in 2023 and that the incoming Speaker of the House wants the bill right away. Parson’s spokesperson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the governor believes the issue should be taken up next year.

Houx said he has talked multiple times with Sen. Denny Hoskins, who is a sports betting proponent but also leads the VLT issue in the Senate. The pair could convene in the coming weeks to “work out the missing pieces,” according to Houx.