Legislators came out aggressively trying to legalize Missouri sports betting in 2020 but the Show-Me State will have to wait until next year at least.
A special committee convened to look at the topic in October and bills were pre-filed before the year even started. A half dozen bills to legalize sports betting in Missouri were introduced by the time the session got going.
While the differing bills showed that there were still some issues to be worked out, one of them was expected to reach the finish line. Legal Sports Report pegged Missouri as one of five states most likely to legalize sports betting in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic changed many plans.
Missourians who could have made a lot of money betting on the Kansas City Chiefs last season will have to go another year without a legal option to place wagers.
The future of Missouri sports betting
With how much attention legislators are paying to sports betting in Missouri, the state again will be a favorite to pass legislation in 2021.
First lawmakers need to work out some key differences on their bills. The main point of contention is whether to limit sports betting to the state’s riverboat casinos or also permit the Missouri Lottery Commission to to offer games based on the outcomes of sporting events.
Another proposal allowed sports betting in the entertainment areas around Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play, and adjacent to Sprint Center.
Some of the bills proposed in 2020 also tried to tie sports betting to a controversial issue in Missouri regarding sanctioning the Lottery Commission to implement a system of video lottery terminals at bars, truck stops, and entertainment districts around the state. Missouri sports betting could stand a better chance as a standalone bill.
Other details that need to be hashed out include whether or not to include an official league data mandate and the tax rate. The legislature at least made one advancement during the 2020 session, figuring out that bills shouldn’t give the leagues both an integrity fee and official league data.
When will online sports betting launch in Missouri?
When MO sports betting is legalized, mobile wagering is expected to be part of it. Legislation considered in 2020 permitted interactive wagering platforms to be tethered to the excursion gambling boats.
All of the most successful sports betting markets post-PASPA allow for mobile sports wagering. It’s particularly important to allow statewide access to online platforms in Missouri, as some Missourians live up to four hours from the closest riverboat casino.
How many skins, or brands, to allow is under debate in the legislature. Some bills limited skins to one, while one bill allowed up to three online platforms per licensee.
Recent Missouri sports betting news
Legal sports betting options in Missouri
There are currently no legal sports betting options in Missouri.
The state legalized betting on horse races in 1984, but only at racetracks. There are no racetracks in Missouri, so there is no legal betting on horses.
There are illegal offshore websites that offer sports betting in Missouri. They do not hold a license from any US jurisdiction to legally accept bets from residents.
Without regulation from the state, these offshore betting apps can’t be counted on to pay out winnings and have been known to disappear with people’s money.
The only safe and protected way to bet on sports in the United States is to do so with a licensed operator.
Most popular sports to bet on in Missouri
Missourians have had a lot to cheer about lately. Missouri has four teams in the four major professional sports. Each one has one a championship over the past decade, capped off by the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl in 2020.
NFL betting in Missouri
The NFL is the most bet-upon sports league in the US, and many Missourians surely were looking for a way to place a legal bet on the Kansas City Chiefs during their Super Bowl run in the 2019-20 season. With the young Patrick Mahomes behind center, the Chiefs are just starting a dynasty that should go on for the next decade, generating betting excitement in Missouri.
MLB betting in Missouri
Missouri is going strong on the diamond with two MLB teams. The St. Louis Cardinals generate enthusiasm with a tradition of excellence that includes 11 World Series titles.
Not to be outdone, the Kansas City Royals won the most recent baseball championship for the state, taking their first World Series in 30 years in 2015.
NHL betting in Missouri
The St. Louis Blues compete in Missouri and were the pride of the state before the Chiefs won the Super Bowl. The Blues won their first Stanley Cup in 2018-19 and led the Western Conference in 2020 prior to the coronavirus shutdown.
NBA betting in Missouri
There are no current NBA teams in Missouri, though the state has a history with the league. The St. Louis Hawks left for Atlanta in 1968 and the Kansas City Kings left for Sacramento in 1985. Also, the St. Louis Bombers played in the opening season of the NBA in 1949-50 before the league contracted.
In absence of their own team, many Missourians support the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, there is a desire to bring an NBA team back to the state. The NBA continues to be a popular wager for in-game or in-play betting because of the pace of the action.
NCAA betting in Missouri
The Missouri Tigers have had some success in basketball and football over the years.
Missouri and Daily Fantasy Sports
Missouri became the sixth state to pass a bill to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports in 2016.
The Missouri Gaming Commission oversees regulation of DFS in Missouri. The law excludes fantasy contests based on collegiate athletics.
Major DFS sites such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo! daily fantasy, and Fantasy Draft operate in the Kansas.
A minimum age of 18 is set for online fantasy sports participants.
Is horse racing legal in Missouri?
Yes, technically, but no racing currently operates in Missouri.
Although the state legalized horse racing and horse betting in 1984, no developers ever found the details appealing enough to open a track.
One problem is the law only permits simulcast wagering on days tracks hold live races.
There have been several efforts in the legislature over the years to attract investors in opening a track by changing the law to allow simulcast betting throughout the year and allow casino games at racetracks, but the efforts were unsuccessful.
Although horse betting theoretically is legal in Missouri at a racetrack, it is not legal to bet on races from around the country on online platforms.
Missouri sports betting timeline
Despite the progress made in the special committee at the end of 2019, Missouri legislators introduced six bills in 2020 and most had the same problems as old bills.
Even after what Rep. Dan Shaul said in the special committee, he introduced a bill with both an integrity fee and official league data. That bill, which also included the video lottery terminals and allowing the lottery to offer games based on the outcomes of sporting events, quickly advanced to the House floor.
Both their bills limited MS sports betting to riverboat casinos, permitting online platforms to tether with the casinos. In the committee, Smith removed the integrity fee from his bill, leaving the official league data mandate.
Christofanelli’s bill didn’t include an integrity fee or data mandate and kept the tax rate to 6.75%, the same as Nevada.
With three bills primed for the House floor entering March, it appeared Missouri was ready to move on sports betting. Then the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the session. When lawmakers went back to work, sports betting was not a focus.
After three legislative sessions, the Show-Me State seems to better grasp the best practices for sports betting legislation. We’ll see if lawmakers take what they have learned into 2021.
Missouri took momentum into 2019 as one of the few states that began exploring sports betting in 2018.
But it’s probably for the best that Missouri didn’t join the other nine states to legalize sports betting in 2019.
A MS sports betting bill passed by the House General Laws Committee was like a dream to sports leagues. Not only would it have given them their ask of an official league data mandate but also its old ask of a 0.25% integrity fee plus an additional 0.6% of handle to fund maintenance upkeep at Missouri sports facilities.
A Special Interim Committee on Gaming convened in October seemed to have a better understanding of what was needed in a bill for the sportsbook operators in the state to put out a competitive product.
Chairman Shaul recapped the three-hour meeting by saying all in attendance wanted mobile MO sports betting without in-person registration, no limits on markets or teams, and no integrity fee or official league data mandate.
The first MO sports betting bills appeared in 2018. Even then, there was a lot of interest but not a lot of agreement on how to conduct sports betting.
In preparation for the US Supreme Court overturning PASPA, Missouri legislators introduced six sports betting bills.
Each of them directed the Missouri Gaming Commission to promulgate sports betting regulations in the event that federal prohibitions go away.
Missouri sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Missouri?
No. Right now, there are no legal options for sports betting in Missouri. That could change in the future, as state legislators appear interested in legalizing wagering.
Who would oversee sports betting in Missouri?
The Missouri Gaming Commission is likely to oversee sports betting in Missouri, though some bills have had the Missouri Lottery Commission running the show.
Will mobile MO sports betting be allowed?
Yes, likely so. All of the bills considered in 2020 included provisions for mobile and internet wagering.
Who will be able to bet on sports in Missouri?
The legal gambling age in Missouri is 21.
There are some sports betting websites that say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?
No. There are currently no sportsbook operators that are licensed at the federal level, which means all US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level. Any website that suggests betting from anywhere in the US is allowed is a website that operators offshore. It is not legal for those sites to accept bets from US citizens and those sites offer no protection to those who bet on them.