The Show Me State is one step closer to betting on sports after the Missouri House approved a bill that would legalize sports wagering within the state.
With a vote of 115-33, the State House of Representatives approved last Thursday House Bill 2502 after it was amended in several ways. The bill will now head to the Senate amid other top priorities in the upper chamber. If the senate will approve the bill before the end of the legislative session on May 13th, it will head to the desk of Gov. Mike Parsons for signature.
Amended House Bill 2502
Betting on professional and college teams is legal under the bill but it does not permit wagers on high school prep sports. The state would tax sports betting operations with a tax rate of 8%, which is lower than the original 10% tax proposed under the bill. Missouri’s professional sports teams would be allowed to partner with operators to launch online sports betting while the state’s 13 river boat casinos can launch a sportsbook with up to three skins. The House also added provisions to address gambling problems.
Sponsored by Warrensburg Republican Rep. Dan Houx, it is backed by the state’s major sports teams – the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, St. Louis Cardinals and Blues, St. Louis City men’s soccer club and Kansas City Current women’s club. It is also supported by most of the licensed casino operators within the state. According to Houx, it’s the first time that they “got everybody to the table” on the issue.
Lawmakers Hope to Launch in the Fall
Optimistic lawmakers are hoping to launch legal Missouri Sports Betting on August 1st although that is not official as a lot of things still have to happen. The bill is expected to underdog debates and re-writes, legal processes that every new piece of legislation must endure before it can even get get voted upon. But considering the reported total bets wagered in last month’s Super Bowl and this month’s March Madness, Senators may consider prioritizing the bill with the amount of money the state is missing out on.
Missouri residents are betting on sports anyways, whether its via unregulated offshore sportsbooks, illegal local bookies or the legal sports betting markets of its neighboring states which are just a drive away. With a projected annual sports betting handle of $150 million, the state would get an extra $12 million of taxes at 8% rate which would go a long way in government projects benefiting residents rather than the money going to their neighbors or offshore sportsbooks.