Survey: Voters Back Missouri Sports Betting Legalization

Survey: Voters Back Missouri Sports Betting Legalization
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

There’s more good news for Missouri sports betting proponents. On the heels of a petition drive starting to get a constitutional amendment to legalize wagering on the November ballot, a recent poll shows strong support for the measure across party lines and most demographic groups.

Emerson College Polling conducted the survey for WDAF-TV, the FOX station in Kansas City, over six days late last month. Based on 1,830 registered voters who participated, pollsters found that 62.3% would vote yes on a sports betting initiative. The results starkly contrast a poll by Saint Louis University and YouGov a year ago, where only 35% said betting on college and pro sports should be legal in Missouri, and 41% disagreed.

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Missouri Surrounded By Legal Sports Betting

Heading into this weekend’s Super Bowl featuring the Kansas City Chiefs defending their NFL title against the San Francisco 49ers, sports betting is legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia – but there are no Missouri sportsbook apps or casinos accepting wagers. Seven of the eight states bordering Missouri permit operators, collect license fees and tax sportsbooks’ revenues.

“Each year that goes by without legalized sports betting, Missouri loses out on tens of millions of dollars that should be helping fund Missouri education,” said Jack Cardetti, spokesman for Winning for Missouri Education. “As this week’s Super Bowl will highlight, Missourians are already placing billions of dollars in bets annually on illegal, offshore websites or in neighboring states, without a penny currently going to our classrooms.”

Winning for Missouri Education is a committee representing the state’s major professional sports teams and several sports betting operators. FanDuel and DraftKings, the two major sportsbooks in most U.S. online markets, have contributed $2 million already to the campaign that began collecting signatures last month.

Proponents have until May 5 to submit petitions to election officials. They need at least 171,592 signatures from registered voters and meet thresholds in six of the Show Me State’s eight congressional districts to get the question on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

Support 'In Every Corner' Of Missouri

According to the poll’s crosstabs, more than 70% of Democratic voters, nearly 67% of independents and about 54% of Republicans would vote to legalize sports betting. So, too, would 69% of men and 54% of women.

Across age groups, the only bloc that does not support legalization is voters 70 and older (43.3% yes to 56.7% no). Sports betting has at least 70% support across all age groups between 18 and 39 and 60% in groups between 40 and 59.

“Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Missourians in every corner of the state want to bring those economic impacts back to the Show Me State to help strengthen our communities and provide tens of millions to education each year,” Cardetti said. 

Legislative Hurdles Lead To Missouri Sportsbook Petition

The state’s pro teams, led by the St. Louis Cardinals, chose to pursue a Missouri ballot measure after seeing several bills to legalize sports betting fail in the state’s legislature. The bills seemed to have majority support, but they were defeated in the Senate thanks to that chamber’s rules allowing members to hold up legislation.

Lawmakers in Jefferson City have once again filed bills during this year’s session. However, the rancor between Republican factions on display in the Senate over several issues increases the odds of a bill getting through this year.

If Winning for Missouri Education’s measure makes the ballot, voters would be asked to approve a constitutional amendment that would legalize sports betting. The initiative would allow the state’s six sports franchises and the six companies that operate the state’s 13 licensed casinos to partner with a sports betting operator that could take wagers from people 21 and older. In addition, two more licenses would be untethered and awarded by the state.

Licenses for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks would cost no more than $250,000, and those for online sports betting apps would not exceed $500,000. The amendment calls for a 10% tax on operator revenues.

Follow BetMissouri.com for the latest news, and for the best Missouri sports betting promo codes when they become available.

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Author

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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