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Good news for Missouri gamblers as the House Special Committee on Public Policy gave the green light to two identical sports betting bills, HB 2502 and HB 2556, the 4-2 vote in favor enough to pass that legislation on to the next stop along the way to becoming a law.
The ongoing debate over how to bring legal, regulated and taxed sports betting to the Show Me State has kept Missouri lawmakers busy, especially now that neighboring states like Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, and Tennessee have all launched their own legal sports betting markets.
The reality of that built-in competition for Missouri bettors’ gambling dollars has state legislators scrambling for their own plan, with Representative Dan Houx sponsoring HB 2502 and Representative Phil Christofanelli sponsoring HB 2556.
According to Representative Scott Cupps, chair of the Public Policy Committee that just gave their okay to those two bills, all things point towards forward motion, telling the media:
There’s been a lot of work that’s been done in the past couple of weeks. I think we’re ready to proceed.
But the path to a full House vote has one more major hurdle to bypass.
The goal here is to get either (or both) HB 2502 and HB 2556 to a House vote, but before that can happen the House Rules Committee for Administrative Oversight must vote to pass those bills onward, but first some re-writes and compromises will most likely take place.
Currently, the way the bills are written there would be a 10% tax on the adjusted gross receipts of each sportsbook operating in Missouri, but that could be one of the factors that gets adjusted in final committee.
Also spelled out in those bills are the hefty licensing fees that Missouri would charge successful applicants – $100k for casinos, and $150k for mobile platforms and $125k for the yearly renewal.
Another critical issue is how much money would be earmarked to tackle gambling addiction issues, with that amount having been recently doubled to $500k by the last committee, a number that could still get some tweaking.
Time is running out, however, with legislators ending their current session soon.
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The reality Missouri lawmakers are facing is that the process of turning a bill into law takes a lot of time and effort and patience, but with their current legislative session scheduled to end on May 13, the deadline to get this done is fast approaching.
If HB 2502 and/or HB 2556 get passed through the House Oversight Committee, the bill(s) would come to the House floor for a vote, and then it would be up to the state Senate to approve of either of those bills before Governor Mike Parson can sign it into law.
As we have reported in the past, these bills have received support from the state’s native tribes and professional sports teams, so it would seem to be just a matter of when, not if, legal sports betting in some form will be coming to Missouri.
No telling how soon that will happen, though, so keep checking back for the latest news and updates to this unfolding story.
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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