Missouri Sports Betting Efforts Face Key July Milestones

A push to legalize Missouri online sports betting is set to hit several key milestones in the coming weeks.

Ryan Butler - Senior News Analyst at Covers.com
Ryan Butler • Senior News Analyst
Jul 9, 2024 • 16:21 ET • 4 min read
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A push to legalize Missouri online sports betting is set to hit several key milestones in the coming weeks.

Supporters of a proposed ballot measure that would allow Missouri voters to approve sports betting must report their latest financial statements by July 15. The quarterly report submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office will give a clearer picture of the support the effort has garnered.

As of the May 15 quarterly report, FanDuel has contributed just over $4 million to support the ballot measure. DraftKings had added $2 million.

The nation’s two highest-grossing sportsbooks have contributed almost all the roughly $6.5 million raised to support the sports betting measure. The campaign reported nearly $6 million in expenditures as of May 15.

Ballot measure backers are hoping these funds will lay the ground for voter approval during this fall’s elections.

The campaign is awaiting final approval from the Secretary of State’s office by July 30.

Government officials must verify roughly 180,000 signatures before a measure can reach the ballot. Sports betting supporters submitted nearly 400,000 signatures to the Secretary of State.

Assuming approval, proponents will then pivot to a get-out-the-vote effort ahead of the fall elections. Missouri’s major professional sports teams have teamed up with the sportsbooks to spearhead a push that would bring regulated statewide mobile sports betting.

Polling early in the election cycle indicates roughly even numbers of supporting, opposing, and undecided voters.

Lessons learned

Missouri sports betting supporters' efforts come after a wave of success in other states – with a notable failure in California.

The most expensive ballot measure campaign in state history, the sportsbook-led effort to legalize betting was overwhelmingly rejected by California voters. State gaming tribes teamed up to galvanize voters against the measure, casting the sportsbooks as outsiders looking to take dollars out of the state. Voters were also upset by the overwhelming number of ads for the measure.

DraftKings and FanDuel contributed more than $50 million to a 2022 campaign to bring sports betting to the Golden State. BetMGM, Fanatics, Bally Bet, WynnBet, and PENN Entertainment contributed at least $10 million apiece.

The two U.S. market leaders have taken a more measured financial approach so far in Missouri. Meanwhile, their competitors have, heading into the July 15 second-quarter release announcement, publicly not spent any money on the Show Me State measure.

Before the California rejection, voters in New Jersey, Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, and South Dakota all approved sports betting legalization initiatives on their respective ballots.

Potential future market

At stake in Missouri would be one of the nation’s more wide-open legal sports betting markets.

The state’s 13 U.S. casinos as well as its major pro sports teams would be able to partner with mobile sportsbooks. This would create one of the largest numbers of potential operators, but it is unlikely that all the eligible entities will reach sports betting partnerships.

DraftKings and FanDuel are both sure bets to enter the state. So too are national market share leaders BetMGM, Caesars, and ESPN BET, all of which have existing partnerships with brick-and-mortar casinos in the state. Bally Bet, BetRivers, and Fanatics highlight another group of likely candidates.

If passed by a majority of voters during the 2024 elections, Missouri’s first mobile sportsbooks would be set to start taking bets in 2025. There is no firm timeline, but operators and regulators in other states that approved wagering have worked to get books live ahead of the ensuing autumn football season.

Missouri would join every boarding state, except Oklahoma, with legal sports betting.  

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