Lending their support
The six professional sports teams in Missouri have issued support for legalizing sports betting in the state. Representatives from each of the teams provided testimony on Wednesday to state senators regarding sports betting legislation. It was the first time during the current legislative session that sports betting has been up for discussion in the Senate.
it can learn from other states
St. Louis Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III believes that the upside of Missouri having to wait several years to get legal sports betting is that it can learn from other states. He said lawmakers will know how to tweak regulations and the framework of the sector to better reflect the Missouri market.
Details of the hearing
The two sports betting bills up for discussion on Wednesday are both very similar in terms of their proposed framework for a legal sports betting sector. One of them purely relates to sports betting, while the other also proposes the authorization of video lottery terminals. These machines are widespread across the state and currently exist in a legal grey area.
A vote on the bills is set to take place in the House on Thursday.
No vote took place during the two-hour hearing; Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Lincoln Hough said he has to consult with committee members to decide which of the bills should go forward. A vote on the bills is set to take place in the House on Thursday. Sports teams would like to see the video lottery terminals and sports betting issues dealt with separately.
The bills would allow for online sports betting and retail sportsbooks at casinos in the state. They also propose creating districts defining where online betting can take place. Seemingly following the example set in Washington D.C., the bills would give greater control to sports teams when it comes to what online betting platforms are available to use in areas near their stadiums.
Appetite for legal sports betting
Casinos in Missouri are also in favor of sports betting, but they strongly oppose legalizing video lottery terminals. The proposed tax on sportsbook revenue is 10%; lawmakers estimate the state would receive between $22m and $30m annually from the sector.
An appetite clearly exists in Missouri to legalize sports betting. During the Super Bowl, GeoComply witnessed over 250,000 attempts by people in the state to place online bets on the big game. Of the eight states neighboring Missouri, only Kentucky and Oklahoma have not yet legalized sports betting.