Proponents of legalizing sports betting in Missouri have taken a step to let voters decide on the matter.
Four petitions were filed Friday with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. Each seeks to amend the constitution to allow the Show Me State to join 38 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing residents to bet legally within the state. Currently, Missouri is nearly surrounded by states that have legalized sports betting. Of the eight border states, only Oklahoma has not authorized the gaming activity.
The petitions were all filed by Alixandra Cossette, a Jefferson City lawyer with Stinson. Stinson had previously filed similar petitions for the state’s pro sports teams, and KCTV reported Friday the recent submissions were on behalf of the Pro Sports Coalition.
What’s In Missouri Sports Betting Petitions
The four petitions are all nearly identical, with one exception. Three include language allowing the state to issue between two to four mobile Missouri betting apps licenses directly to operators that would not need to partner with a casino or professional sports team. Each casino and major league sports team would have the opportunity to host a brick-and-mortar sportsbook and partner with an online provider.
Based on the language submitted, the top sports betting operators in the country would get preference for the independent licenses. Two of the petitions would set aside licenses for up to three or four operators, and preference would be given to those with a “demonstrable history of generating tax revenue” in at least 10 states as of Nov. 5, 2024. A third petition would set aside up to two licenses, with preference given to applicants with a history of being one of the top two operators nationally in terms of tax revenue generated.
Brick-and-mortar licenses would cost $250,000, and online licenses would be $500,000. Each would last for five years, with renewal costs not to exceed the initial fee. The proposals also call for the tax rate on sports betting revenues to be set at 10%, with some deductions available to operators for Missouri sportsbook promotions. The license fees are higher than the amount lawmakers proposed earlier this year, but the tax rate considered by legislators was also 15%.
What Happens Next?
This isn’t the first time that sports betting petition language has been submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State, and even if the petitions are approved for circulation, there’s no guarantee the coalition would try to gather the necessary signatures to get a measure on next year’s ballot.
However, proponents have become increasingly frustrated that efforts to pass sports betting legislation have stalled repeatedly in the Senate due to the chamber’s filibuster rules. The submitted petitions are now available for public review and comment on the Secretary of State’s election page. It must also be reviewed by both the Secretary of State’s and the Attorney General’s offices before signature gathering can begin.
If approved for circulation, proponents must garner signatures from at least 8% of the registered voters in six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. At a minimum, that would equal 171,592 registered voters in the six smallest districts, based on data from the Secretary of State’s office. Petition rolls must be submitted all at the same time by no later than six months before the election so state officials can review and verify signatures.