Missouri Wading Back Into Sports Betting Legalization Discussions
- The Missouri House Committee on Public Policy discussed identical bills that would legalize online sports betting for the state’s 13 casinos and six professional sports franchises
- The identical bills would allow for 39 skins in the state
- Missouri introduced a number of sports betting bills in 2021 but none received an official vote
Missouri seems to be gearing up for another run at legalized sports betting, as the Missouri House Committee on Public Policy held a three-hour meeting this week to discuss several bills to allow state casinos and professional sports franchise to offer retail and online sports betting.
The committee heard testimony on two separate but identical bills to legalize Missouri sports betting. One bill, HB 2502 (sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx) and HB 2556 (sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli) will allow for 39 separate sportsbooks skins distributed to the state’s 13 casinos and six professional sports organizations. No votes were taken and it’s unclear when a vote will be taken moving forward.
A third bill, HB 1666, was not discussed at the hearing.
Millions in Potential Tax Revenue
The sports betting bills would establish a tax rate of 10%, with tax revenue from sports betting mainly supporting Missouri education. According to a submitted legislative financial evaluation of the bills, Missouri could realize upwards of $15 million annually in sports betting taxes.
The 10% tax rate did raise some questions from committee legislators. Rep. Dottie Bailey wondered why Missouri’s potential rate was less than the neighboring Illinois rate of 15%. Bailey suggested raising Missouri’s rate and also potentially charging online sports betting users a $2 to $3 “admission fee” to access their online sports betting accounts.
The bills will allow for each casino to offer a maximum of three skins, but will cap the number of skins per casino company at six if they own two or more facilities. The remaining skins will be allocated to Missouri professional sports franchises.
The breakdown for skins will be as such:
- Affinity Gaming: Six skins
- Boyd Gaming: Six skins
- Caesars Entertainment: Six skins
- Century Casinos: Six skins
- Penn National Gaming: Six skins
- Bally’s Corp.: Three skins
- Missouri professional sports franchises (6): One skin each
Missourians are Interested in Sports Betting
Representatives from the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals, NHL’s St. Louis Blues, NWSL’s Kansas City Crest, and MLS’s St. Louis City Soccer Club spoke out in favor of legalized Missouri sports betting at the hearing.
Proponents of the bills argued that data shows Missourians are eager to engage in sports betting. Based on data from GeoComply, over Super Bowl LVI weekend the company blocked nearly 70,000 attempts made by people within Missouri trying to access betting options in neighboring states, according to testimony submitted from iDevelopment and Economic Association (iDEA Growth).
GeoComply data also showed that more than 3.9 million geolocation transactions occurred just 10 miles from Missouri’s borders in Illinois, Iowa or Tennessee.
The legalization process is still in its early stages. Several sports betting bills went through the same process in 2021 and none of them received an official vote.