As lawmakers wrap up their 2023 session this week, supporters of a Missouri sports betting bill will try once more to get the measure passed.
The state House on Tuesday afternoon in Jefferson City voted to include sports betting language in an amendment to Senate Bill 92. The amendment offered by state Rep. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg, passed by a 96-42 vote before the House ultimately voted to pass the bill.
SB 92 is a bill that would give lenders incentives to provide loans for Missouri farmers. While some in the House questioned if Houx’s proposal was germane to the legislation, the lawmaker stood firm.
“It’s a passion that I have, and there’s an opportunity and, I think, a place where we can go with this,” he said on the House floor. “I know it’s not going to make everybody happy. I just want to show the people in the state of Missouri once again that the Missouri House cares about what they want and pass sports betting.”
House Change Sends Bill Back to Senate
With the House amending the original Senate bill, that legislation must return to that chamber. If the Senate does not concur with the House’s changes, leaders from both chambers would set up a conference committee to reach a compromise on a final bill.
Considering SB 92 is sponsored by state Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, it’s highly likely a conference committee will be needed. Hoskins has been the main obstacle in the Senate regarding sports betting legislation. In the last two years, he’s blocked House bills legalizing sports betting from getting a vote in the Senate.
Hoskins supports sports betting. However, he wants the legislature to approve a bill allowing video lottery terminals, slot-like machines that the state’s casino operators oppose.
Lawmakers will not have much time to hammer out an agreement if a conference committee is needed. Friday is the last day for Missouri lawmakers to meet this year.
New Amendment Differs from Previous Bill
The sports betting language the House included in its amendment does differ from the original bill lawmakers proposed earlier in the session.
House lawmakers now set the tax rate at 15%, up from the 10% they initially sought.
The initial license fee would be $100,000 for casinos seeking to offer sports betting, while online operators would pay $150,000. Online operators would then pay an annual renewal fee of $325,000. Originally, House lawmakers proposed a $150,000 initial fee and a $125,000 renewal fee.
Missouri casinos could partner with up to three mobile operators, the same as the original House bill.
The state may soon find itself essentially surrounded by states that have legalized sports betting. Arkansas and Iowa have regulated it since 2019. Illinois and Tennessee did so a year later. Kansas launched sports betting last year, and Nebraska and Kentucky have passed laws to do so.
Oklahoma is the only Missouri neighbor to not at least pass a sports betting law.
Besides casinos and sports betting operators, Missouri’s professional sports teams have also supported efforts to legalize sports betting.
Some sports betting supporters in the Show Me State have been so frustrated by the lack of progress in the legislature that they’re considering taking the measure straight to voters next year through a referendum.
If betting in the state does become legal, BetMissouri.com will be home to Missouri sportsbook promos.