A landmark bill that would legalize Missouri sports betting has made its way to the state senate floor.
Missouri HB2502 would allow it to join the more than 30 states and District of Columbia in getting sports betting on the books. It will advance to a full vote of the state senate’s members after clearing the Senate Appropriations Committee by an 8-1 margin Tuesday morning.
State Sen. Dan Hegeman told the St. Louis Dispatch the bill’s contents will be amended in the full senate chamber, calling it a “work in progress.”
One thing the senate will change, according to Hegeman, is raising the 8% tax rate on wagers, which was dropped by 2% from the senate’s earlier version of the bill.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Hegeman told the Dispatch. “I don’t want anybody to think this is a finished product. This is really just to keep the process moving.”
What’s Left to Get Bill Across the Finish Line?
Raising the state’s sports betting wagering tax rate could amount to 10s of millions in revenue for the state, according to the Dispatch.
Earlier this month, representatives from the Cardinals, Blues, Chiefs, and Royals made their respective pitches as to why Missouri needed to keep up with the Joneses and pass sports betting.
Steve Chapman of the Blues told the committee wagering would allow the team, which is 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.
The committee also heard from Ann Scharf, the Chief’s vice president of civic affairs, who 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 in March the team has considered moving across the border into Kansas, the home of Kansas City’s NASCAR track and MLS soccer team.
The teams have already formed a coalition with Missouri’s casinos and sports betting platforms to ensure the state’s future market is comparable to those in other states, the Dispatch reported.
Missouri vs. Kansas: Who Legalizes Wagering First?
Border rivals Kansas and Missouri appear to be in a race to see who can legalize sports betting first.
Kansas’ SB84 will be taken up again by that state’s legislature next week. A recent amendment to the bill would allocate 80% of all revenue from wagering to lure the Kansas City Chiefs from Arrowhead Stadium on the Missouri side to a new stadium site in Kansas City, Kansas.
In Missouri, HB2502 has already cleared the lower chamber of the legislature by a 115-33 margin, setting the stage for the senate to hammer out the details needed to get sports betting finished before the session ends May 30.
Under the state’s bill, each of Missouri’s 13 casinos, in addition to sporting venues, like Busch Stadium and Kaufman Stadium, could open betting windows. Mobile sports betting would be legalized as well.
That would pave the way for industry power players such as DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook to gain access to one of the Midwest’s largest states.
Missouri legalized riverboat casinos in 1992 and has been working on sports betting legislation since 2018.