Senator Blames Casinos For Killing Missouri Sports Betting Bill

Senator Blames Casinos For Killing Missouri Sports Betting Bill
© USA Today

The Missouri Senate adjourned one day early on Thursday without approving a sports betting bill.

This means sports betting won’t be legal in Missouri at least until lawmakers can attempt to approve a sports wagering bill at next year’s legislative session in Jefferson City.

Neighboring States Allow Sports Betting

In a tweet, state Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, laid the blame on Missouri casinos. The state’s professional sports teams support legal wagering in the state. 

“We offered 3 different bills on sportsbook,” Hoskins tweeted. “The last offer was on Tuesday and all the pro sports teams (Chiefs, Royals, etc.), pro player orgs (MLBPA, NFLPA), mobile platforms (FanDuel, DraftKings) agreed to the deal. Unfortunately, the casinos said NO & the bill died.”

According to Hoskins, Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, the majority caucus chairman, would not hold a vote in the Senate on sports betting unless all sides came to an agreement. Some casinos were not on board, Hoskins said. 

Supporters of legal sports betting in Missouri point to the revenue being lost to its neighboring states. Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas and Tennessee each offer online sports betting, while Kansas just legalized its mobile sports betting market on Thursday. When Kansas online sportsbooks go live, the state will lose more revenue.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, pictured, had said if the Legislature sent him a sports betting bill, he would sign it.

House Approves Legal Wagering

In March, the Missouri House approved a sports betting bill, only to see the proposal die in the upper chamber. 

House Bill 2502 would have allowed in-person sports betting at the state’s 13 casinos. It also would have granted mobile sports betting skins to casinos and the state’s six professional sports franchises. The House bill imposed a tax rate of 10%.

The Senate bills, SB1046 and SB1061, were backed by a coalition consisting of Missouri’s professional sports teams.

Among representatives of other professional teams, officials from the St. Louis Cardinals lobbied at the statehouse for a sports betting bill to be approved. The Cardinals are one of two baseball teams in Missouri hoping to benefit from MLB betting. The other is the Kansas City Royals.

Hoskins attempted two compromise proposals during Thursday’s legislative session. Despite the compromise attempts, there was no vote.

The Legislature was scheduled to adjourn on Friday, but the Senate ended its work on Thursday.