Missouri is attempting to authorize legal sports betting after previous failed attempts.
On Monday, the state’s House approved House Bill 556 and House Bill 581 — two pieces of legislation that would legalize both online and retail sports wagering across the Show-Me State.
HB 556 and HB 581 — both sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx — were passed in the House by a first-round voice vote. The two bills, which have garnered support from Missouri’s casinos and professional sports teams, will be up for a formal roll-call vote in the House later this week.
If the bills advance in the lower chamber, they will then head to the Senate for a final vote.
What do the bills entail?
HB 556 and HB 581 would allow Missouri casinos to partner with up to three online sports betting sites, while the state’s professional sports teams are allowed to partner with one platform.
The two bills propose sports betting be regulated by the Missouri Gaming Commission. Net winnings of all wagers would be taxed at 10%, including deductions for promotional costs. Revenue generated from sports wagering would be allocated toward Missouri’s education fund.
In comparison, casinos in the state pay a 21% tax on net winnings for every other form of gambling. However, the tax rate on casinos excludes a deduction for promotional costs.
Legalizing sports betting in Missouri has been an uphill battle for several years.
“This is something that seems so simple,” said Rep. Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City. “Our constituents genuinely don’t understand why we haven’t got it to the finish line yet.”
Sports wagering in Missouri has been an issue due to concerns about video gambling in gas stations and convenience stores across the state. Last year, lawmakers proposed House Bill 2502 — a similar sports betting bill — but it failed to receive the votes it needed in the Senate.
As of January 2022, there were up to 20,000 unregulated video slot machines across Missouri.
Nearby states reaping the benefits
Despite the recent hesitation from lawmakers, states in close proximity to Missouri have seen the benefits of legal sports betting in their jurisdictions. Six of Missouri’s eight neighboring states have authorized wagering, including Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Tennessee, and Nebraska.
Kentucky — another neighboring state of Missouri — is currently discussing legal sports betting.
If sports betting is legalized, it is projected to generate roughly $950 million in adjusted gross revenue for Missouri through 2027. During the 2022 NFL season, there were 8.7 million attempts by Missourians to place wagers in other states that were blocked, per GeoComply.