Sports Betting Inches Forward at Missouri Legislature

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Sports Betting Inches Forward at Missouri Legislature

Sports betting in Missouri inched closer to being legalized with action Wednesday at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

On a voice vote, the House of Representatives gave initial approval to amended legislation that would allow people throughout Missouri to use mobile devices in wagering on professional and collegiate sports.

Bettors also would be able to place wagers in person at sports venues and inside the state’s 13 casinos.

Sports betting would be taxed at 8% under legislation sponsored by Reps. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg, and Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters.

Sports wagering is expected to generate $10 million for the state in tax revenue each year.

Final Vote Required in House and Senate

The sports betting measure still needs final approval in the House. A vote in that 163-member chamber could come by the end of this week.

If approved in the House, the measure would go to the Senate for possible approval. Bills approved in both legislative chambers then go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson for his consideration.

The legislative session ends May 20.

Casinos, Sports Teams Support Sports Betting

Earlier this year, the state’s casinos and professional sports teams joined together in supporting statewide sports betting.

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. Soccer teams in the state also have expressed support.

Missouri Residents Already Bet on Sports, Legislators Say

During Wednesday’s discussion in the House, some lawmakers noted that Missouri residents are crossing into neighboring states to bet on sports.

That action, while legal, costs Missouri tax revenue that could be used for in-state needs, legislators said.

One legislator pointed out that some bettors are wagering with the use of illegal apps that also don’t contribute to the state’s tax base.

Majority of Missouri’s Neighbors Allow Sports Betting

Sports betting is operational in four of the eight states that border Missouri. These states are Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Sports wagering has been legalized but is not yet up and running in a fifth neighboring state, Nebraska.

Legislation to legalize sports betting is under consideration in the other three bordering states — Kentucky, Oklahoma and Kansas online sportsbooks could soon be available.

Nationwide, legal sports wagering takes place in 30 states and Washington, D.C., according to the American Gaming Association.

Sports betting has been legalized but is not yet operational in three additional states. These three are Ohio, Florida and Nebraska.

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