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Missouri vs. Kansas Rivalry Extends to Sports Betting Legislation

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Sep 21, 2022 · 11:59 AM PDT

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Aug 25, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the eight inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
  • As Missouri scrambles to legalize sports betting, neighboring Kansas has enjoyed a successful launch of its own program
  • One Missouri Senator believes Kansas “gave away the farm” to pass sports betting bill
  • Missouri is attempting to keep its sports betting hopes alive for 2023

The Missouri and Kansas rivalry is very real and it’s only becoming more evident as Missouri sports betting supporters had to watch Kansas launch sports betting earlier this month.

Missouri Rep. Dan Houx (R) and several other state reps discussed Missouri’s newest introduced sports betting bill at a recent “Emerging Issues” committee meeting, and lamented the fact that Kansas sports betting was legalized before the Show-Me State.

Kansas Enjoys Sports Betting While Missouri Waits For 2023

Houx (R) introduced a new sports betting bill, HB 4, during the first day of a special legislative session last week and the bill was discussed today in an “Emerging Issues” committee meeting. HB 4 is almost a line-by-line rewrite of the House-approved HB 2502, which legalizes Missouri retail and online sports betting betting. HB 2502 was approved by the House by a 115-33 vote, but never received a full Senate vote.

Rep. Houx had hoped his bill would be heard during this special session, but according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Gov. Mike Parson said it would not be discussed.

Missourians will likely have to wait until 2023 for the bill to be discussed while Kansas revels in sports betting, much to the chagrin of several Missouri legislators.

“For the record, I think I’ve made clear my disdain for the state that’s west of us, called Kansas, based on prior life. But here’s where we want to be like Kansas, because they have something passed that many of our constituents have talked about,” Rep. Kurtis Gregory (R) said at the committee meeting.

According to recent GeoComply data, Gregory said over 340,000 attempts were made by Missourians to access Kansas sportsbooks earlier this month. It’s clear and evident Missouri is interested in sports betting, he noted.

Every day sports betting is not legal in Missouri, Houx said, tax payers are crossing the borders into Kansas to bet on games and spend money at Kansas businesses.

“We want to keep this bill on the forefront, to show Missourians that the House is try to do everything we’ve promised to do…it’s our job as representatives to bring new revenue into the state on a constant basis,” he said.

Did Kansas Give Up Too Much?

Perhaps the most critical comments made by a Missouri legislator were by Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-21), who has been heavily involved in Missouri’s attempts to legalize sports betting.

Hoskins told Sports Betting Dime that he would continue to support Houx and work with legislators to pass a comprehensive sports betting bill in 2023.

When asked about Kansas, Hoskins criticized the Sunflower State’s legalized sports betting bill.

“Kansas gave away the farm to get sportsbook passed. States like Michigan and Illinois are literally spending more money on compulsive/problem gambling programs than Kansas will bring in tax revenue to the state from sportsbook. I think Kansas’s fee and tax structure is very short-sighted, as they did not commit enough resources to combat an increase in problem/compulsive gambling caused by sportsbook,” he told Sports Betting Dime.

During Missouri’s 2022 legislative session, Hoskins filibustered for nearly three hours against a proposed amendment that would have stripped Missouri’s sports betting bill of 5,000 video-lottery terminals (VLTs), and no vote was taken on the bill.

He eventually compromised and introduced a “Hoskins/Houx” sports betting bill that stripped VLTs from the legislation and increased its tax rate to 15%, but it never received a vote on the Senate floor.

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