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Long after the sun set last Thursday night, as the midnight oil was burning, in fact, Missouri lawmakers were awake and in session into the wee hours of the morning debating the standalone sports betting bill that had been introduced by state Senator Denny Hoskins.
Spoiler alert – it failed to pass, or even garner a vote, the legislation dying about as quickly as it lived, this controversial issue having been discussed for just over an hour by lawmakers before being withdrawn by Hoskins when it became obvious it would not go much further.
I tried to pass a stand alone Sportsbook bill tonight, unfortunately I ran into some resistance. But I’ll keep working toward a compromise bill that provides funding for our veterans & education! #moleg @PeteMundo @AlexGold @610SportsKC @sports_handle @Chiefs @Royals @Cardinals https://t.co/yilCHPJiFv
— Senator Denny Hoskins, CPA (@DLHoskins) May 5, 2022
The bill would have legalized in-person and mobile sports betting in Missouri casinos and would have allowed for 39 separate sportsbook skins, or “brand instance existing under a master license,” to be distributed amongst the state’s 13 casinos and six pro sports organizations.
What it did not include were the VLT’s that have become that issue’s controversial dealbreaker.
As we recently reported in MO Sports Betting Stalls Over “Gray Machine” Issue, there are those in the Show Me State who are in favor of the addition of these video lottery terminals, or so-called ‘Gray Machines,’ and those who are against, with a middle ground tough to find there.
Hoskins’ standalone midnight bill last week did not include the addition of these Gray Machines, telling the press:
“Ideally, I’d love to have VLTs in this bill, but I also realize that there are people out there who just want a standalone sports betting bill.”
His legislation called for a 15% tax rate on sportsbook revenue, a reasonable number when compared with states like New York and Delaware who are charging 51% and 50% respectively, though neighboring states like Iowa (6.75%) and Arkansas (13%) charge less.
Regardless of the tax rate, every month this issue stalls means more money lost for Missouri.
Missouri lawmakers are facing the reality that gambling money is already being spent by residents, only now that potential revenue is flowing out of the state via unregulated offshore sportsbooks or nearby in Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, and Tennessee where sports betting is legal.
Says John Pappas, executive director of a nonprofit association representing sportsbooks: “Every year that Missouri is waiting is another day that consumers are left unprotected, and money is left on the table. It just doesn’t make sense to be on an island when literally every state surrounding them is going to have legal sports betting.”
Some industry experts have projected a legal Missouri sports betting market as generating $15 million in annual tax revenue for the state, money that could be redirected homewards if the right legislation is introduced to the congress.
Whether the perfect bill includes VLT’s or not remains to be seen, but time is wasting while all those Missouri sports bets are being made elsewhere, so it would behoove state leaders to find a compromise quickly and join the over thirty other states who have already done the same.
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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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