Missouri Sports Betting Legalization Campaign Surpasses Significant Milestone

profile image of Dave Grendzynski
The Missouri state flag is seen flying outside the Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images/AFP.

The prospects for legalizing sports betting in Missouri are surging forward. Let’s delve into the latest advancements and see what the future might hold for top-rated online sportsbooks.

Game On

Winning For Missouri Education, which is leading the campaign, achieved a significant milestone by collecting over 100,000 signatures for its initiative petition. In addition to the signatures, the group already has the support of the state’s six professional sports teams but still has one more hurdle to overcome.

To secure a spot on the November ballot, the campaign must gather approximately 180,000 signatures and submit them to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office by May 5. The group thinks it can do better. It believes they’re going to reach 300,000 signatures before the deadline because they’re ahead of schedule.

What Would the Initiative Allow?

The proposed initiative would authorize all 13 of Missouri’s casinos, as well as its six professional sports teams, to provide both onsite and mobile sports betting services. Oversight of these activities would fall under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Gaming Commission, with a proposed tax rate set at 10%.

Advocates of the campaign anticipate that this measure could potentially generate millions of dollars in revenue for Missouri’s public education system.

Many Missourians Already Try to Bet

It appears the interest in sports betting is not waning.

Missouri laws prevented nearly 431,000 residents from placing bets on the Super Bowl in nearby states, according to GeoComply, a company that monitors online betting compliance.

“With the Super Bowl data spotlighting the issue, it’s clear that Missourians are already betting billions on offshore sites or across state lines, without contributing a single dime to our schools or our state’s economy,” Campaign spokesperson, Jack Cardett, stated in a news release issued on February 20th.

In recent years, Missouri lawmakers have considered several sports betting bills. However, political resistance has stymied many of them. For instance, efforts to link sports betting with video lottery regulation faced opposition from casinos, causing the legislation to stall.

However, the campaign is hopeful, as a recent Emerson College poll showed that nearly two-thirds of Missouri voters support legalizing sports betting, despite previous legislative obstacles.

Petition Laws May Be Changed

Still, there may be additional opposition.

The way people can start a petition to change laws in Missouri is similar to how it’s been done before, like when they legalized recreational marijuana two years ago. Yet, now, there’s talk about changing how these petitions work.

Republicans are worried because they think if we keep the rules the same, a petition to protect abortion rights might pass. Right now, all it takes is more than half of voters to agree. The Senate recently voted on asking voters if they want to change this. They might make it so that not only do more than half of all voters in the state have to agree, but also in at least five of the eight congressional districts in Missouri.

“We are seeing strong support in the signature gathering effort because Missourians know it is time to legalize sports betting and use the funding for education,” Cardetti said. “It’s not only good for our economy but will support our teachers and future generations of Missourians for years to come.”

It remains to be seen if the “Show-Me State” will “show out” and get the necessary signatures come May.