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Missouri is a step closer to launching a legal sports betting market now that the state House of Representatives has approved House Bill 2502 (HB 2502) by a vote of 115-33 last week, a piece of legislation that was recently amended in several ways:
The bill is sponsored by Representative Dan Houx and is backed by the state’s major sports teams and casinos who, according to this legislation, would all receive a piece of the action, money that right now is flowing elsewhere as Missouri bettors spend their money out of state.
Rep. Houx is encouraged that this bill has received so much broad support, saying:
This is the first time we got everybody to the table and got 99% of the people to the plate.
Whether that’s true will become more obvious in the next few weeks as Missouri’s other chamber begins to debate Houx’s bill.
Now it’s up to the Missouri Senate to keep HB 2502’s forward momentum flowing most likely with more debates and re-writes meant to keep everybody happy, a process that every new piece of legislation must endure.
But the longer lawmakers delay, the more sporting events they miss out on, and after seeing how much money was gambled on Super Bowl LVI and this year’s March Madness Tournament, it’s no wonder this had become a priority.
Missouri residents already have easy access to unregulated offshore sportsbooks and illicit local bookies and with the majority of Missouri’s neighboring states already with a legal sports betting market in place and just a quick drive away, it makes sense to move forward on this issue.
House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann understands that Show Me State gamblers are betting elsewhere like in Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas, and Missouri fail to benefit on that, telling the media:
Missourians are doing it right now and we are not getting the benefit from the tax standpoint.
Those lawmakers in favor of this issue expect this to get done before the winter.
Some optimistic Missouri lawmakers have mentioned August 1 as a potential start date for legal sports betting there, but no official goal has been set so far since so many things still have to happen.
Should the Senate green light HB 2502 it would then go to Governor Mike Parson’s desk for a signature, and then the business infrastructure would have to be set up and tested before any bets can be placed by Missouri residents.
The projected annual sports betting handle in Missouri is $150 million so the sooner the state can legalize and regulate a market there the quicker that money can be redirected homewards to be taxed so that some of those profits can go towards benefitting residents.
Missouri’s current legislative session is scheduled to end on May 13 and the deadline to get this done is fast approaching, but in the meantime, we will keep track of all the news and updates on this story so keep checking back to stay informed.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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