Missouri Group Submits Signatures To Let Voters Decide On Sports Betting

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Missouri Group Submits Signatures To Let Voters Decide On Sports Betting
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The organizers wanting to put sports betting on the Nov. 5 ballot in Missouri submitted more than 340,000 signatures Thursday to the secretary of state’s office.

The Winning for Missouri Education coalition seeking to put the issue before voters in November includes six professional sports teams. Those teams are the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Current and St. Louis City soccer teams.

At a news conference Thursday, Bill DeWitt III, president of the St. Louis Cardinals, said the team is proud to support the initiative.

“As Missouri remains one of the few states without legalized sports betting, we are thrilled that more than 340,000 Missourians supported placing this issue on the November ballot," he said.

The coalition said an initiative petition to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot requires about 180,000 valid signatures. The deadline to submit signatures to the secretary of state is May 5. 

According to the coalition, county clerks then count the signatures, with the secretary of state’s office usually certifying successful signature-gathering efforts around July.

Missouri Surrounded By Legal Sports Betting States

Currently, sports betting is legal in 38 states and Washington, D.C. Of the eight states that border Missouri, all except Oklahoma have legal sports betting. 

“As one of only 12 states without legalized sports betting, Missouri took a significant step forward today in ensuring that these revenues stay in Missouri to help our communities and classrooms,” said Jack Cardetti, spokesman for Winning for Missouri Education. 

At the Capitol in Jefferson City, legislators continue to debate whether to approve any sports betting bills, but those measures have failed in the past and have run into resistance again. This year's legislative session is set to end on May 17.

If sports betting is legalized under the proposed November ballot question, Missouri’s 13 casinos and six professional sports teams would be allowed offer onsite and mobile sports betting, according to published reports.

Voters Support Sports Betting In Missouri, Polls Show

In its signature-gathering campaign, the Winning for Missouri Education coaliton released polling information indicating more than 60% of Missourians support the initiative to legalize sports betting.

During a recent interview on Gambling.com's "The Edge," Gary Jenkins, an attorney and former Kansas City Police Department intelligence detective, said Missouri residents would vote to legalize sports betting. Missourians already are going out of state to bet on sports, he said.

“We’re losing millions and millions in tax dollars,” Jenkins said.

Under the initiative, a 10% tax would be applied to sports betting revenue, generating funding for public education. The Missouri Gaming Commission would regulate sports betting.

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