Sports Betting Bill Pops Up In Missouri, No Start Date In Massachusetts

Sports Betting Bill Pops Up In Missouri, No Start Date In Massachusetts
© USA Today

A bill to legalize sports betting in Missouri was introduced this week during a legislative special session at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Other recent developments nationwide include an overall sports-betting update in Louisiana and a decision in Massachusetts to hold off on announcing when wagering can begin.

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Missouri Lawmaker Seeks Legal Sports Betting

On Wednesday, Rep. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg, introduced House Bill 4 to legalize online sports betting and in-person wagering at sportsbooks in the state’s riverboat casinos.

The special session began Wednesday.

The sports-wagering bill, similar to one that failed earlier this year, might come up for a hearing Monday in the House General Laws Committee.

However, it was unclear late this week whether bills can receive a final vote if they’re outside the special session’s scope.

In August, Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, called for the special session to address income tax cuts and to extend agriculture tax credit programs for at least six years. Sports betting was not included in this scope.

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Missouri Interested In Sports Betting

On Sept. 1, sports betting became legal next door to Missouri in Kansas.

At that time, tens of thousands of people in Missouri used mobile devices in attempting to bet illegally in Kansas

The Kansas launch prompted a renewed call in Missouri for legal sports betting.    

In addition to Kansas, sports betting is legal in five other states surrounding Missouri. In one of those, Nebraska, sports betting is legal but has not yet gone live.

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Massachusetts Start Date Uncertain

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission declined to give a date for when betting can begin at casino sportsbooks and on mobile apps. 

Sports betting in Massachusetts was legalized in August, but gaming officials are continuing to work through details before setting a start date.

At Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Bradford Hill sought clarity on when sports betting can begin, even if a temporary timeline later needed to be adjusted.

Facing concerns about unresolved issues, the commission did not put forth a start date or tentative timeline.

Among other concerns, the commission discussed potential problems in granting temporary licenses to 20 or more online bookmakers that might not be awarded a permanent license. These temporary licenses would be issued for one year at a cost to each mobile bookmaker of $1 million.

This unusual temporary licensing would put the state in a position of having to shut down several mobile apps already legally accepting bets.

The commission scheduled a Sept. 22 roundtable with online bookmakers for further discussion.

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Louisiana Mobile Wagering Increases

In Louisiana, Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns announced Thursday that the state’s bookmakers have accepted $1.4 billion in bets since sports betting was legalized last year.

This figure includes bets placed in person at commercial casino sportsbooks and on mobile apps. In-person casino wagering began in late October 2021, while mobile wagering was launched this year in January.

The overall sports-betting total includes a handle of $112 million in August from seven mobile bookmakers. That figure is up from July’s mobile handle of $103.3 million.

Johns said he expects interest in sports betting to increase now that college and NFL football seasons are underway. In the past, he has noted that Louisiana is a “football state.” 

Sports betting in Louisiana is legal, except in nine of 64 parishes that voted against it in a November 2020 statewide election. 

Below are the sports betting mobile apps available in Louisiana:

Barstool Louisiana Sportsbook 

BetRivers Louisiana Sportsbook

BetMGM Louisiana Sportsbook

Caesars Sportsbook Louisiana

DraftKings Louisiana Sportsbook 

FanDuel Louisiana Sportsbook

Wynnbet Louisiana Sportsbook

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