Sports Betting Under Consideration in Missouri

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Sports Betting Under Consideration in Missouri
© USA Today

Sports betting is illegal in Missouri, but that could change under legislation up for discussion this month at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

The House Committee on Public Policy earlier this week heard two measures, House Bills 2502 and 2556, that would allow online sports betting across Missouri. The sponsors are Reps. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, and Dan Houx, R- Warrensburg.

Both bills are scheduled to be heard in the committee again on Monday, according to the Missouri House of Representatives website.

The legislative session began in early January and ends May 20. It comes at a time when online sportsbooks in Kansas also look set to be legalised.

Pro Sports Teams, Casinos Would Get Skins

The state’s six professional sports teams and most casino operators have joined together to back the sports betting plan.

If approved, each of Missouri’s 13 licensed casinos would be granted three online apps, or “skins,” according to Vixio Gaming Compliance. Owners of multiple casino properties would be capped at six skins.

The six pro teams, including Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals, would receive one skin each.

Missouri Bettors Cross State Lines to Wager

Missouri lawmakers who support sports wagering note that people already are placing bets using unlawful websites or are crossing into neighboring states where sports betting is legal.

Nationwide, sports wagering is permitted in 30 states. It is legal but not yet operational in three more. Several of Missouri’s neighbors are among the 30 states that allow sports betting.

During the Super Bowl weekend, 69,372 attempts were made from within Missouri to place bets in neighboring Illinois, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. These figures were compiled by GeoComply, a Canada-based company providing geolocation compliance and fraud-security services. The efforts to wager from Missouri were blocked.

John Pappas, executive director of the iDevelopment and Economic Association, said it doesn’t make sense for Missouri to be an island when surrounding states have legal sports betting, according to the newspaper.

The association represents online bookmakers such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

“Every year that Missouri is waiting is another day that consumers are left unprotected and money is left on the table,” he said.

Arkansas Legalized Mobile Wagering

Missouri’s newest neighbor to legalize mobile sports betting is Arkansas. A legislative committee in Little Rock this week gave final approval to a new Arkansas Racing Commission rule allowing bettors anywhere in the state to use their computers or smartphones to wager on sports. The sports betting rule was filed Tuesday at the secretary of state’s office for a mandatory 10-day waiting period.

After the 10-day period expires, casino operators in Arkansas plan to begin offering mobile sports betting, possibly in time for the NCAA March Madness basketball tournaments.

Carlton Saffa, chief market officer at Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, told he expects residents in bordering states to cross into Arkansas to use their cellphones in placing sports bets.

Only two of Arkansas’ neighbors, Tennessee and Louisiana, allow mobile sports betting. Mobile wagering is illegal in Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

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