Legal Sports Report

Missouri Sports Betting

Missouri is new to the conversation surrounding sports betting, but it’s moving forward with diligence. A handful of relevant bills appeared for the first time in 2018.

Missouri legislators look to be considering legalizing sports betting again in 2019 as legislative activity cranks up.

Missouri sports betting bills

Here are the bills that have appeared in 2019 in Missouri:

Legal sports betting basics in Missouri

As in most states, gambling in Missouri was originally prohibited by state law.

In the time since the initial prohibitions were written, they have been amended to allow for bingo, lottery and pull tabs, as well as traditional casino gaming. The state has more than a dozen riverboat casinos which operate most forms of gambling.

Some casino games, such as blackjack and craps, are listed as “games of skill” under the amendments. Daily fantasy sports was also classified as such when it was legalized in 2016.

For the time being, though, Missouri law prohibits sports betting.

Missouri sports betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Missouri?

No. State lawmakers first introduced bills to legalize sports betting in 2018.

Who would oversee Missouri sports betting?

The Missouri Gaming Commission oversees most forms of gaming and gambling in the state. Under current proposals, the MGC would also have jurisdiction over MO sports betting.

Where can I bet on sports in Missouri?

Nowhere currently. Most of the active bills would allow sports betting at the state’s existing gambling facilities and on mobile devices.

Who can apply for a Missouri sports betting license?

Nobody is currently permitted to offer sports betting in Missouri. If that changes, the state’s existing gambling facilities could be allowed to do so. There is also proposed legislation on the table which would allow licensed DFS operators to offer sports betting.

Who will be able to bet on sports in Missouri?

The legal gambling age in Missouri is 21.

Will mobile sports betting be available in Missouri?

Probably. Most of the current bills include provisions for mobile and internet wagering.

How much revenue does Missouri sports betting generate?

Currently none.

Missouri sports betting timeline

2018: First MO sports betting bills appear

There are a lot of Missouri sports betting bills on the table. Each of them directs the MGC to promulgate sports betting regulations in the event that federal prohibitions go away.

Here are the bills in the House:

  • H 2320Rep. Bart Korman, the short bill allows casinos and DFS operators to offer sports betting on both collegiate and professional events, allows the lottery to use sporting events in games.
  • H 2406Rep. Justin Alferman, allows casinos to offer sports betting, proposes fees/taxes, lays out consumer protections.
  • H 2535Rep. Dean Plocher, contains provisions similar to H 2406.

The three House bills are all on the “second reading” phase, an early step in the legislative process.

There are also three active bills in the Senate:

  • S 767Sen. Denny Hoskins, video lottery bill which includes limited provisions to legalize sports betting
  • S 1009Sen. Caleb Rowden, allows casino operators to offer sports betting, proposes fees/taxes, lays out consumer protections
  • S 1013 – Sen. Hoskins, contains provisions similar to S 1009 with one notable exception —  this bill stipulates quarterly payments to sports leagues as an “integrity fee”

The appearance of the integrity fee in Hoskins’ bill is not surprising.

As states continue to introduce sports betting legislation, leagues have begun to hire lobbyists to push their interests. Lawyers for the NBA and MLB created a document which lays out five inclusions they require to support bills on the topic. The integrity fee, which allows the leagues to profit directly from the activity, is the biggest sticking point with lawmakers.

Proposed integrity fees amount to one percent of the total amount wagered (or handle) paid directly to the leagues’ governing body.

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