Missouri Sports Betting Bill Passes House, Heads to Senate for Debate

Missouri Sports Betting Bill Passes House, Heads to Senate for Debate
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Missouri hopes to move a step closer to competing with its neighbor states and push a bill approving sports wagering through the Senate after the House overwhelmingly approved it this week. 

House Bill 556 passed the House 118-35-2 on Wednesday. The next stop for Missouri sports betting is the Senate.

“The Missouri House has traditionally been the leader on this issue and has once again sent the bill over to the Senate,” said Brant Iden, VP of Government Affairs for Fanatics and a former Michigan legislator. “However, this year I hope the Senate has the political will-power to push it over the finish line and start protecting the good citizens of ‘the Show Me State’ from unscrupulous offshore operators.”

With all but three adjoining states allowing sports wagering, and Nebraska close to making it just two states, Missourians have been taking their tax dollars out of the state in order to gamble on sports contests. That’s costing not only lost revenue in gambling taxes, but also taxes on meals and other purchases when those residents leave the state.

“The Missouri House clearly wants to get this done,” said B Global Managing Partner Brenden Bussmann. “…Those legislators should be applauded for listening to their constituents and working to legalize a market and quit having dollars go to neighboring states.”

Current Bill Resembles 2022 Version

The bill is nearly the same as last year’s House Bill 2502 — which also cleared the House before dying on the Senate floor — with casinos allowed to offer three betting platforms and major sports teams allowed to make deals with wagering companies. Anyone over 21 would be allowed to use sports wagering apps on their phone, other mobile devices and computers to place bets within the state.

The net winnings of sports betting would produce a 10% tax for the state and would not include promotional costs such as free bets that casinos and wagering companies use to draw gamblers to their service.

Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, has been the biggest obstacle in the past to the bill’s passage because he has sought to include video lottery games in bars, restaurants and truck stops in the bill. His current bill seeking to marry the two issues didn’t make it out of committee.

“I’m glad the House has taken action,” Hoskins said. “I look forward to working with the House sponsor and my senate colleagues on the gambling bill to do what’s best for Missourians. I do have some concerns as the bill does not include any money for veteran homes, including my veterans home in Warrensburg, and very little funding for problem/compulsive gambling.”

Many are hoping to see the bill finally get approved for sports wagering in Missouri and keeping those dollars in the state. A legislative research report says passage could mean between $21 and $29 million in revenue to benefit education in Missouri.

“As we have seen in previous years, the block had been in the Senate and largely rests with one person’s self interest in another measure,” Bussmann said. “Anyone that says they are going to go for the block after their own bill gets defeated isn’t interested in good policy or his constituents. It’s time Missouri got this done after five years.”

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Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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