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Missouri Sports Betting Bill “Perfected” In the House

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Mar 21, 2023 · 7:13 AM PDT

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Oct 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) catches a pass during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
  • A Missouri sports betting bill to legalize retail and online sports betting was perfected in the Senate
  • Several amendments to raise the proposed 10% sports betting tax were defeated
  • House expected to approve, but Senate is the biggest hurdle

A Missouri sports betting bill has been “perfected” by members of the state’s House of Representatives and the legislation needs just one more approval in the chamber before heading over the Senate.

After nearly two hours of debate, the House “perfected” Rep. Dan Houx’s (R-54) sports betting bills, HB 556 and HB 581,  which will legalize retail and online sports betting for state casinos and Missouri professional sports franchises.

The legislation is expected to be heard for its third reading and voted on later this week by the House.

House Approval Likely

Such as in 2022, the sports betting legislation is expected to be approved and moved out of the House before its ultimate test in the Senate. During last year’s session the sports betting issue was ultimately derailed by proponents of video lottery terminals (VLTs) who hoped to see their legalization included with any potential sports betting laws.

The two issues have so far been bifurcated, but Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-21), a supporter of legalized VLTs in the state, has alluded to potentially upending the Senate discussion on sports betting if VLTs are not included. A bill from Hoskins legalizing both sports betting and VLTs did not make it out of committee earlier in the session.

Additionally, Senate debate has so far largely revolved around a bill to ban gender-affirming healthcare for state minors. Democrats filibustered the bill for several days leading up to the Senate’s spring break and Republicans have vowed to force a vote on the controversial issue. Negotiations between the two parties have so far largely been unproductive and the issue may put a halt to the rest of the legislation scheduled for 2023.

Despite the potential Senate hold up, Houx is hoping to push his legislation through the House to at least give it a chance to be legalized in 2023.

Nearly every single state bordering Missouri has some form of legalized sports betting, Houx said. The only two states without sports betting on its border are Kentucky and Oklahoma, both of which are debating bills this session.

“We’re up against the wall here. We’re surrounded and we have to do everything we can to get people to bet inside Missouri. We need to do whatever we can to make sure we get these tax dollars coming in,” Houx said.

Despite the approval for perfection, several amendments to the bill were proposed and voted down by the House last night. Two amendments would have raised the bill’s proposed tax rate from 10% to either 15% or 20%, but were rejected.

However, Houx said he would still support the legislation if a higher tax rate was agreed upon in the Senate if it meant the bill had a better chance to be legalized.

Sports Betting Bill Details

If approved, the legislation will allow Missouri casinos to partner with up to three sports betting operators and professional sports franchises the ability to partner with up to one operator. In-person sports betting will only be available at state casinos.

Every professional sports franchise in the state supported the bill during its public debate in committee.

Missouri is losing out on millions in potential tax revenue as long as sports betting is illegal in the state, Houx said. Missouri can either chose to legalize sports betting, or wait another year while residents take part through other means.

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