It appears any formative steps toward legalizing sports betting in Missouri will have to wait a little longer.
The state Senate Appropriations Committee discussed House Bill 2502, which would allow Missouri to join the 33 states and District of Columbia in getting sports betting on the books, but adjourned Wednesday morning without voting on the bill.
During the brief hearing, the committee heard testimony from Steve Chapman of the St. Louis Blues, as well as Bill DeWitt of the St. Louis Cardinals and Ann Scharf of the Kansas City Chiefs about the importance of adding sports betting to the state’s professional sports teams.
Chapman, the team’s Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer, told the committee wagering would allow the Blues, which are in one of the smallest media markets in the 32-team NHL, to remain financially competitive against teams from larger media markets, such as New York.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Scharf, the Chief’s vice president of civic affairs, said the team remaining in Missouri is contingent upon receiving a sports betting skin. Chiefs president Mark Donovan told reporters at the NFL owners meetings last week the team has considered moving across the border into Kansas, the home of Kansas City’s NASCAR track and MLS soccer team.
Kansas is working on a sports betting bill of its own. When the Kansas Senate returns April 25, it will take up SB 84, which passed the House this week. A new provision of SB 84 would earmark 80% of all wagering taxes generated to fund future professional sports facilities in the state.
What Was Discussed Wednesday
Wednesday’s hearing also covered a wide range of technical details about Missouri HB 2502, including the preferential tax rate for wagering and the importance of adding wagering for the state’s sports teams.
Both DeWitt and Todd George of Penn National Gaming discussed the former, asking the committee to adopt a tax rate of either 8% or 10% on sports betting transactions.
George said PNG’s preference is for the lower percentage, telling committee members such a rate would get customers off the illegal sports betting market.
DeWitt, on the other hand, said the sports coalition has already agreed to a 10% tax rate on future sports betting transactions, 2% higher than the rate that’s mentioned in HB 2502.
The Missouri House of Representatives has already passed HB 2502, 115-35, with language that allows sports betting inside 13 existing casinos in the state and on mobile applications.
The state’s casinos and professional sports teams have already come together to support the house bill, with the Chiefs, Royals, Cardinals and Blues all speaking out in favor of the legislation.
No future committee hearings have been scheduled on the Missouri sports betting bill, though we should have greater clarity later this week.
Missouri legalized riverboat casinos in 1992 and has been working on sports betting legislation since 2018.