Missouri Petitions Aim to Take Sports Betting Battle to the Ballot Box

While it seems doable, a similar effort for the 2022 election cycle failed to get any proposed initiatives on the ballot that year.

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2023 4:13 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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Missouri is one of the shrinking number of states without legal sports betting, but there is another effort afoot to go around lawmakers and authorize wagering at the ballot box.

The office of Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft is now accepting the public’s comments on four proposed petitions intended to kickstart a process to legalize a limited number of retail and online sports betting sites in the Show Me State.

Those petitions will need to be signed by 8% of legal voters in any six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts, according to the secretary of state's handbook. While it seems doable, a similar effort for the 2022 election cycle failed to get any proposed initiatives on the ballot that year.

Show Me Sports Betting

Nevertheless, the latest petitions show there is still a desire for Missouri sports betting, even if the state legislature hasn’t figured it out yet. Another attempt earlier this year to legalize event wagering in the state fell apart over a longstanding disagreement regarding video lottery terminals, leaving Missouri as one of the 12 states without legal sports betting.

Missouri is still holding out even as its neighbors are increasingly getting on board. Kansas legalized sports betting in 2022, while Kentucky did so earlier this year and launched retail wagering just last week. That will likely ensure the pressure remains on Missouri lawmakers to take action — unless voters take matters into their own hands.

Among other things, the petitions propose to legalize sports betting through retail and online sites, with restrictions on the number of licenses that could be issued. One petition would cap the number of mobile licenses to sportsbook operators at four, another at three, another at two, and the last states that gambling boats, professional sports teams, and their sportsbook partners can only get one license apiece.

Other provisions would require residents to be 21 or older before they can bet and that operators' adjusted gross revenue would be taxed at 10%.

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