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After failing in 2021 to pass legislation legalizing sports betting, Missouri lawmakers who are in favor of such a market are hoping for different results in 2022, last week holding a three-hour hearing in which they debated two House bills that would allow sports gambling there.
That lengthy hearing was held before the House Special Committee on Public Policy and joining in were representatives from six of Missouri’s professional sports teams and five of six casinos that operate there, all expressing their support of legalizing sports gambling in the Show Me State.
The reality that lawmakers and industry leaders are facing is that Missouri gamblers are already betting on sports and that money is going elsewhere, as noted by Representative Phil Christofan during last week’s hearing, who said:
I think many of you are aware that sports betting happens on unlicensed and unregulated apps. Legalized sports betting allows a framework for consumer protection and revenue generation for the state of Missouri to address our critical needs, like education.
The goal is to redirect that existing money flow back into the state by legalizing, regulating, and taxing a thriving sports betting market.
Right now, there are two sports betting bills being considered by the Missouri legislative body – House Bill 2502, which was introduced by Rep. Dan Houx, and House Bill 2556, which was introduced by Rep. Christofan.
Both bills would allow for a 10% tax rate on the adjusted gross receipts of the licensed sportsbook operators, a rate that is seen as a starting point for further negotiations.
That number is competitive, though, especially when compared with other states who charge sportsbooks as low as 6.75% (Iowa) and as high as 51% (New York) to operate, and it’s reasonable, as Bill DeWitt III, president of the MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals pointed out at the hearing:
I believe it’s a fair compromise for all involved. First and foremost, all the pro sports teams in Missouri support sports wagering as a way to increase engagement with our fans and provide a fun, exciting and new way to enjoy sports and root for our teams. We also know sports wagering will generate a significant source of tax revenue for Missouri.
For Missouri, it is now a matter of playing catchup with all the other states in the US that have already begun to offer their residents legal sports betting market.
Since May 2018 when the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA and essentially allowed each state to decide on whether they wanted their own sports betting market, over thirty states have gone in that direction.
That fact has not escaped many Missouri lawmakers like Rep. Houx, who said at last week’s hearing:
“Missouri is only one of 18 states that currently does not have sports gambling. More importantly, of the eight states surrounding Missouri, five passed legislation and two – Kansas and Oklahoma – currently have legislation working through the legislative process.”
The time for Missouri lawmakers to move forward with this inevitability is now in 2022, so check back for the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.
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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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