Will Missouri Legalize Sports Betting?

(STL.News) As a sport-loving country, the question of betting and sportsbook legalization has long been on the lips of the Senate in the US.  So far, more than two dozen states have made sports betting legal, though many bills have only included in-person betting, as opposed to online betting.

The Missouri Complex

For those living in Missouri, this might be a bit of a sore subject.  Five of Missouri’s eight bordering states have legalized sports betting in some shape or form, and all of them have been performing well in the market – Illinois sportsbooks, in particular, have been increasing by 32.4% year-over-year.  So far, only Kentucky and Oklahoma have not legalized, with Nebraska currently pending along with four other states in the US – Ohio, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Maine.

The Path To Legalization

For sports lovers in Missouri, the path to legizlation has been difficult, and it is still ongoing.  On May 13th, 2022, the Missouri legislative session – which saw lawmakers attempt to get through a sports betting bill – fell through without approval, meaning the date of legalization is still up in the air.  In early September 2022, it was announced that Missouri representative, Dan Houx, was making a push to have the HB 4 – sports betting bill – passed in a special legislative session.  The EMC (Emerging Issues Committee) did not take action on Houx’s bill, however, meaning Houx will have to wait until January 2023 to introduce and argue for the next one.

The Kansas Dilemma

As mentioned previously, there are many bordering states who have already introduced sportsbook betting and are creating a fair income for the market.  Kansas, specifically, launched its own sportsbooks on September 1st, 2022, and more than 2.4 million bets were placed, according to the Kansas Lottery.  Amongst other things, Houx has pointed to this as a reason why Missouri should follow suit.  According to online analysis, more than 340,000 Missouri citizens attempted to access the Kansas sportsbooks in September, demonstrating just how much of an appetite there is in the state.

The Future For Missouri

It is unclear when sports betting will be legalized in Missouri, but the Senate appears to be legalizing one state at a time, meaning it is a question of when not if.  Adding to this, Houx actually shepherded a bill that was backed by a coalition of Missouri’s casinos and sports teams earlier in the year, and it only ran into a dead end due to the Senate wanting to raise the VLT tax rate to 21%.  Houx has stated that he has talked with Senator Denny Hoskins a few times about the VLT issue, and they are due to recorrelate in the coming weeks.  It is important to note, also, that the more revenue bordering states make off sports betting, the more likely it is the bill will be met with positivity rather than apprehension.  If one were to place a bet on it, legalization is likely to be approved sometime in 2023 or 2024.