Missouri Lawmaker Files Sports Betting Bill Because It Is “Already Happening”

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated January 17, 2023
4 min read
  • Missouri Rep. Phil Christofanelli Just Filed House Bill 581 to Legalize Sports Betting

  • Christofanelli Told the Media that Sports Betting in Missouri is “Already Happening”

  • Missouri’s Neighbors Kansas and Illinois Already Have Legal Sports Betting in Place

Missouri Lawmaker Sports Betting Bill

Missouri Rep. Phil Christofanelli Just Filed House Bill 581 to Legalize Sports Betting

Looks like legal sports betting in Missouri will be the topic of legislative conversation again in 2023 as another bill to legalize such a market has been filed by a state lawmaker, that’s according to KMIZ News out of Jefferson and it is good news for resident sports gamblers.

That new sports betting proposal is House Bill 581 (HB581), recently filed by State Representative Phil Christofanelli (R-St. Peters) and if approved, it would allow Missouri residents over 21 to legally places bets on sports using both mobile and retail options.

According to KMIZ, Christofanelli has filed sports betting bills over the past three legislative sessions to no avail due to various opposition, but as Christofanelli told the media:

“Legalizing sports betting is a common-sense issue. I hope this is the year we can get this done so we can give Missourians more personal freedom and bring more revenue to our state.”

Add that legislation to the bill that State Rep. Dan Roux recently filed – HB556 – and chances are there will be even more since there are a variety of directions a legal sports betting market can take.

Meantime, Missouri residents are doing their sports gambling elsewhere.

Christofanelli Told the Media that Sports Betting in Missouri is “Already Happening”

Missouri residents are already sports betting using illegal bookies, unregulated offshore sportsbooks, and neighboring states, but the revenue that the illicit market creates goes untaxed by the state, money that could be used to fund projects that benefit residents in need.

Rep. Christofanelli is apparently wise to the fact that Show Me State residents are already partaking in sports gambling action, saying in a news release:

"Sports betting in Missouri is already happening. Missourians frequently cross state lines to place bets or go through online avenues that don’t bring the state any revenue.”

That’s millions of annual dollars in potential tax revenue that are lost, not to mention the jobs that could be created to support and regulate such a market, as evidenced in other states where that activity has already been made legal.

Another state lawmaker, Rep. Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) said essentially the same thing in a press conference earlier this year:

“We've got a whole lot of folks from Kansas City who are looking at that revenue that sports betting is bringing in and wondering why we're not getting that here in Missouri.”

It’s money that Missourians are spending elsewhere that creates taxable revenue that could be redirected back home.

Missouri lawmakers only have to look at Illinois, where, according to KMIZ, their 15% tax brought in $92 million in new tax revenues for the fiscal year 2022, and the same goes with Kansas where they have generated a $537B handle that has resulted in over $1M in tax revenue.

As those markets continue to grow and evolve, those revenue numbers should also increase giving those states an extra income stream that can be reinvested in education, infrastructure, athletics, and to fight problem gambling and other addiction.

Missouri lawmakers began their current legislative session on January 4, and it is scheduled to run until May 30 this debate should be ongoing with plenty of updates along the way; we will keep you updated on all the latest news so be sure to check back often.

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Mike Lukas

Sports Betting & Gambling Industry Analyst

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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.
Nationality: American
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