Missouri Making Another Push at Sports Betting
Lawmakers in the state of Missouri have been attempting to legalize the sports betting industry for the last two years, but with little success. Those lawmakers are now receiving help from outside sources and that could be the push that is needed for legalization.
There are currently four sports betting bills on the table in Missouri and those bills have been receiving special attention. The House Special Committee on Public Policy held a meeting earlier this week to go over the two identical bills in the House.
Missouri is falling behind in the legal sports betting industry, especially as there are now surrounding states with this industry. This means that the state is losing out on money, especially as residents cross over into neighboring states to place some bets.
These lawmakers are still going to have a long process if sports betting is going to be approved, but all four of these bills have some terrific options on the table. Lawmakers are going to be in session through the month of May, which will give lawmakers plenty of time to get a bill passed.
Coalition Has Been Formed
While lawmakers will continue the debate, casino companies and professional sports teams have teamed up to take on this issue as well. There are six professional teams in Missouri, and five casino operators have formed a coalition that looks to legalize both retail and online sports betting.
There are 13 riverboat casinos in the state, and that is where all of the retail betting would take place, according to this coalition. This plan also includes 39 mobile betting skins and that would be shared among the casino operators and the teams.
Depending on the size of each casino company, a different amount of online skins would be made available. The professional teams would get just one skin apiece, and that would allow them to partner with an operator.
Other states have been able to legalize sports betting after professional sports teams have stepped up and helped lead the charge. This coalition clearly has the floor in Missouri and they have the means necessary to get a bill passed.
Plenty of Questions Remain
Even though the sports betting coalition has a terrific proposal on the table, there are still going to be plenty of questions that need to be answered. One of the biggest decisions that has to be made is what the final roles will be for the Missouri Gaming Commission and the Missouri Lottery.
There has also been some heated discussion about the sports betting tax rate that will be imposed, and that is an issue that always seems to create some controversy. The sports betting coalition has laid out some of those key aspects, but lawmakers all have their own opinions as well.
Video game terminals are extremely popular in Missouri and this is another issue that has kept previous bills from advancing. Those businesses that currently offer these VGTs are not willing to give up on this revenue and lose out on this to sports betting operators.