An effort to get a Missouri sports betting referendum on this year’s ballot will start this weekend, and it has already received $500,000 in support from DraftKings and FanDuel.
The Show-Me State’s six major league professional teams will lead the petition drive effort, according to a Friday release. They would prefer lawmakers to take care of the matter, but they’re not holding out much hope that will happen this year.
“We are united in our goal of supporting the legalization of sports wagering in Missouri in a reasonable, safe and responsible way that is good for our teams, our fans, our Missouri teachers and our other citizens of Missouri,” St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said in a statement.
Representatives from Winning for Missouri Education will begin gathering signatures on petitions to legalize Missouri sportsbook apps at the Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up, which runs from Saturday to Monday at Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village. Petitions will also be available at St. Louis Blues games at the Enterprise Center this weekend.
What’s In Proposed Missouri Sportsbooks Amendment
Proponents filed several sports betting proposals with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office last year. The one they will move forward with will allow each of the six major professional sports teams in the state to partner with an operator, and the same applies to all of the brick-and-mortar casino operators (there are no Missouri online casinos). In addition, the Missouri Gaming Commission can award licenses to no more than two online sports betting operators.
Licenses for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks would not cost more than $250,000, and online permit fees wouldn’t surpass $500,000. Those licenses would need to be renewed every five years.
The proposed constitutional amendment to legalize Missouri sports betting would tax operators’ adjusted gross revenues at 10%. Most of the funding would go toward education, ranging from elementary schools to colleges and universities. Winning for Missouri Education notes that Missouri teachers have the third-lowest pay in the nation.
At least $5 million of the tax money would also go to the state’s Compulsive Gaming Fund.
The proposed amendment would also limit the amount the commission can fine operators. That cap would be $50,000 per violation or $100,000 “resulting from (a) violation of the same occurrence of events.”
How Many Signatures Are Needed?
To get the proposed Missouri sports betting constitutional amendment on the November ballot, supporters will need signatures from at least 8% of the registered voters in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. At a minimum, that would be 171,592 signatures.
The deadline for submitting petitions is 5 p.m. Central time on May 5. If operators are able to launch in the state, Missouri sports betting promo codes can be found here at BetMissouri.com.
Winning for Missouri Education officially filed its campaign paperwork with the state’s Ethics Commission last week. On Thursday, the group reported FanDuel and DraftKings provided in-kind contributions of $250,000 each. The filing did not indicate the nature of the contribution. Both operators, of course, have ambitions of operating in the state.
Besides the Cardinals and the Blues, the other sports teams in the state are involved in the campaign to help Missouri sports betting succeed in 2024. They include the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Current of the National Women’s Soccer League and St. Louis City FC of Major League Soccer.
Missouri lawmakers have tried to pass a sports betting bill in Jefferson City for the past couple of years. However, those efforts have stalled in the Senate, despite the popularity of the measures, because of that chamber’s filibuster rules.
Recent polls have shown mixed messages from voters about support for a sports betting measure. In November, a survey for Missouri Scout, an online news site, showed “no” voters holding a 54% to 26% lead. However, in July, a Show Me Victories poll for a Lake of the Ozarks casino project found that 48% of likely voters voiced at least some support for legalizing sports betting.