Sports Betting Gets OK in Missouri House, Now Goes to State Senate

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Sports Betting Gets OK in Missouri House, Now Goes to State Senate
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The Missouri House of Representatives approved legislation on Thursday to legalize sports betting in Missouri.

Without discussion, the lower chamber approved House Bill Nos. 2502 and 2556 on a 115-33 vote.

Before sports betting becomes legal, the state Senate still needs to approve the legislation. Any change there would have to be worked out between the House and Senate.

If OK’d in both chambers, the legislation would go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson for his consideration.

The legislative session ends May 20 at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Mobile Wagering Allowed Under Sports-Betting Bill

Under the legislation approved in the House, sports wagering would be allowed statewide on mobile devices such as smartphones.

Bettors also would be permitted to wager in-person at ticket windows inside the state’s 13 casinos and sports venues.

Bettors could place wagers on professional and collegiate sporting events.

Missouri Tax Rate Set at 8%

Sponsored by Reps. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg, and Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, the legislation would implement an 8% tax on sports betting revenue.

An earlier version of the legislation would have imposed a 10% tax, but that figure was lowered to 8% in an amendment approved in the House on Wednesday.

Pro Sports Teams Support Statewide Wagering

Sports betting measures have failed at past legislative sessions, but this year received support from a coalition of the state’s casinos and professional sports teams.

The teams include the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, the NHL’s St. Louis Blues and Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. The St. Louis City soccer team also has expressed support.

Neighboring States Allow Sports Betting

In a discussion on the House floor Wednesday, some lawmakers noted that Missouri residents either are using illegal apps to wager on sports or are crossing into neighboring states where sports betting is legal. The state is losing tax revenue either way, the bill’s supporters said.

Among the eight states that border Missouri, sports betting is operational in Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas. It is legal but is not yet operational in a fifth neighboring state, Nebraska.

Legislation is under consideration to legalize sports betting in the other three bordering states: Kentucky, Oklahoma and Kansas.

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Larry Henry

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