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What do the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the St. Louis City Soccer Club all have in common?
These Missouri pro teams all really want a legal sports betting market in their state and once again representatives from each of those sports franchises and others have been lobbying hard in favor of that controversial issue, an almost four-year debate that has yet to go their way.
At a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee last week in Jefferson City, some of those pro teams got a chance to speak up on behalf of the efforts of state lawmakers’ to bring legal sports gambling to the Show Me State.
Anne Scharf, a vice president of the Kansas City Chiefs, made sure the group focused on the new middle ground regarding this issue, saying:
All sides have worked very hard for a considerable amount of time to reach a compromise.
Another point made by Jason Thein, legal counsel for the St. Louis City soccer club, was that bringing a legal sports betting market would essentially put an end to the black market version that is already in place, saying:
We think it’s important to shine a regulatory light on what we know is already happening in the state.
Missouri’s state congress has until their current session ends on May 13 to sort through several potential sports betting bills.
There have been multiple sports betting bills introduced to the Missouri congress, but so far none have made it through both chambers, though Senator Denny Hoskins has a version that has gotten some attention by his peers and industry leaders.
Bill DeWitt III, president of the St. Louis Cardinals, told those at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing last week that “We’re supportive of [Hoskins] efforts,” but there are a few other pieces of sports betting legislation that the state’s 13 existing casinos might prefer.
For the casinos and pro sports teams and the state of Missouri to all make a fair share of money, the tax rates and fees and write-offs must be haggled over and that is one of the reasons why progress has been so slow up to now along with other related issues like unregulated slot machines.
But for every month state lawmakers wait, more potential revenue is lost.
Of course, everyone potentially involved in a legal Missouri sports betting market wants their fair share of the money, and that means a passable bill must please all parties including bettors, all the pro teams, casinos, and sportsbooks that would be licensed to operate there.
Senator Hoskins’ bill would set a tax rate of 21% on sportsbook revenue which could generate a projected $163 million in tax revenue for the state of Missouri, whereas other bills are promising less because their rates are much lower.
Regardless, it’s money that right now is being spent elsewhere via offshore sportsbooks and in neighboring states like Iowa, Illinois, and Arkansas where that activity is already legal, so it will most likely be a matter of when, not if, Missouri will join in with their own legal market.
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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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