FanDuel, DraftKings Work with Pro Sports Coalition to Bring Sports Betting to Missouri

Sports betting operators pony up $250,000 each to help get a petition drive started for the coalition’s political action committee.

Jan 15, 2024 • 15:03 ET • 4 min read
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A pair of big-named online sportsbooks have gotten involved in a professional sports team-led coalition to bring legal sports betting to Missouri in 2024. 

FanDuel and DraftKings, the two highest market-share holders in U.S. sports betting, gave $250,000 each to help get a petition drive started for the coalition’s political action committee, according to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The coalition - led by the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis City SC, and the Kansas City Current - formed in 2023 and officially became a PAC earlier this month called “Winning for Missouri Education.”

The ballot initiative seeks millions of dollars to pay for the efforts needed to get signatures from 170,000 registered voters by early May. If sports betting makes the 2024 voting ballot, then funds will be used for advertising. 

The initiative to secure a spot on the ballot is already underway as the online sportsbook giants hope to land a spot in a sports-heavy state. 

What’s the goal?

The pro sports team coalition decided last year to take matters into its own hands after the Missouri Senate shot down attempts at legalizing sports betting. 

While it seeks signatures, the coalition is still determining between eight questions filed with Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to pose on the ballot if it makes it there.

The group is advocating for a 10% tax rate that could reach as low as 5%. The pro sports teams and 13 in-state casinos can partner with as many as four sportsbook operators to offer online and retail sports betting.

The coalition also calls for a “sports district” to allow pro teams to hold a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at, or adjacent to, their venues.   

An online operating license would cost $500,000 initially with a five-year renewal at the same rate while retail operators would pay $250,000. 

Missouri officials project tax revenue of $29 million per year from sports betting.

What are the chances?

It’s unclear how this petition will go over with voters and if they’ll land enough signatures to get on the ballot, but a survey in 2023 found that 54% of residents opposed sports betting. 

However, the coalition’s proposition probably has a better shot than relying on the legislature.

“I wouldn’t bet on it. No pun intended,” House Speaker Dean Plocher told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the prospects of sports betting legislation. 

Two new sports betting bills were introduced to the Senate this year. Both are similar to the 2023 failed attempts, and they will likely face the same battle in 2024. How to tax video terminal lotteries has stymied previous bills.

Another hope for the coalition is that pressure from the initiative, whether or not it gets in front of voters or not, helps push legislators, but that is difficult to bank on. 

“Both sides are pretty entrenched,” Senate President Caleb Rowden said. “You haven’t seen a lot of movement.”

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