Gambling

Missouri Sports Fans Favor Sports Betting, Legislation Stalled


Posted on: March 22, 2024, 04:04h. 

Last updated on: March 22, 2024, 04:04h.

Missouri sports fans wanting to place legal bets on their NCAA brackets remain sidelined as March Madness heats up. That’s despite a new poll that finds support for sports betting getting warmer in the Show Me State.

Missouri residents hoping to place legal sports bets on March Madness from within the Show Me State will have to wait until next year as sports betting legislation remains stuck in legislative limbo. (Image: Casino.org)

Saint Louis University and YouGov released a poll last week showing 60% of Missouri voters support legalizing sports gambling to fund public education. A spokesperson for Winning for Missouri Education said a ballot petition to place the matter before voters in November is ahead of schedule.

“The most recent poll underscores that now is the time for Missouri to generate tens of millions in education funding each year by finally legalizing sports betting,” said Jack Cardetti. “Missourians want a legal, safe way to bet on sports, while also boosting our economy, and supporting Missouri students and teachers.”

Two Missouri lawmakers filed two separate bills to legalize sports betting in the state at the beginning of the legislative session. HB 2331 is awaiting a third reading. The current legislative session runs until May 17.

“We live close to the border, as you know, we can go across the river somewhere in Kansas and place bets,” Rep. Dean Van Schoiack (R-District 9) said. “Everybody along the Western side of Missouri can go to Kansas or Oklahoma and place bets. On the Eastern side, go to Kentucky and Tennessee and place bets. So, we are losing that revenue.”

Similar legislation passed the House in both of the past two years but has died in the Senate.

State of the Ballot Initiative in the Show Me State

The coalition Winning for Missouri Education has the support of Missouri’s six professional sports teams. The petition drive for a constitutional amendment ballot item needs more than 170K voter signatures from across the state by May 5. In February, the coalition said it had collected 100K signatures.

The proposed ballot initiative legalizes sports betting through the Missouri Gaming Commission and would let the six professional sports teams and 13 casinos in the state operate online and in-person sportsbooks. It would also create a 10% tax on sports betting revenue in the state.

As for the sports betting legislative efforts, the snag appears to again be in the Senate over disagreements on whether the state should also authorize video lottery terminals.

Missouri Casinos See Surge in February Revenue

While battles over sports betting continue in the state, Missouri’s casino industry experienced an uptick in February. Total adjusted gross revenue (AGR) topped $156.9 million. That’s a 14% increase from the $135.4 million recorded in January.

The Missouri Gaming Commission says the February numbers are just slightly ahead of the February 2023 AGR. The gaming tax collected from all licensed casinos totaled $32.9 million in February. The Gaming Commission says that’s a 13% increase from January.



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