The next effort for Missouri sports betting is on, but it already includes one of the obstacles that derailed legalization efforts in 2022.
On Thursday, Sen. Denny Hoskins prefiled SB 1, which would legalize sports betting in Missouri. The bill also includes video lottery terminals, an issue that caused a sports betting gridlock in the Senate earlier this year.
Hoskins will not be alone in filing Missouri sports betting legislation in 2023. Rep. Dan Houx told LSR in September that he will follow up his 2022 sports betting bill with new legislation in 2023. Houx’s bill passed the House and died in the Senate because of the VLT issue, along with a tax rate disagreement.
The 2023 Missouri legislative session start Jan. 4, 2023.
New Missouri sports betting bill
Hoskins said he tied sports betting and VLTs to help support veterans’ homes and cemeteries in Missouri, which had a $50 million shortfall last year. He said MO sports betting could contribute $10 million in state tax revenue, while the VLTs would generate up to $250 million.
The Missouri casino industry opposes VLTs, Hoskins said, but he believes there is enough legislative support to pass the bill. He said a sports betting-only bill would have a “slim chance” to pass both chambers, but that colleagues want something done on the issue next session.
The sports betting portion of the bill is what the casinos and professional sports teams lobbied for earlier this year. That would create up to 39 mobile skins, split between the six casino operators and six teams in the state. He also plugged in the 10% tax rate he hoped to raise to 21% last session.
Dual efforts in Missouri
Hoskins and Houx have talked since the last MO sports betting effort failed, according to both legislators. Houx told LSR this fall there were some issues to iron out between the bills.
Houx also told LSR the sports betting legislation is likely the only issue he will back next year and is supported by the Speaker of the House, who wants the bill at the beginning of the session. Earlier this year, Houx pushed the bill backed fully by a coalition of the state’s casinos and professional sports teams, and without VLTs.
“It’s been the number one topic constituents ask about this summer,” Houx said earlier this year.
Chasing Kansas sports betting
This year, Kansas and Missouri were racing to legalize sports betting first. While Missouri failed to cross the finish line, Kansas won the race and launched sports betting in September.
In the first two weeks of sports betting in Kansas, more than 340,000 attempts were made by Missourians to access KS sportsbooks.
“It definitely tells me people want this,” Houx said in September. “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.”