Missouri Amendment Would Let People Vote To Legalize Sports Betting in November

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Voters cast their ballots on November 3, 2020 at Jennings Senior High School in St Louis, Missouri. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images/AFP

It seems to be easier to win a Super Bowl or a World Series in Missouri than to get sports betting legalized in the state.

Missouri’s sports teams are making another push to legalize sports betting in 2024. Secretary of State John Ashcroft is giving the green light to eight motions, allowing them to appear on the ballot in the upcoming election cycle.

Bold Move Towards Legalization

The Missouri Pro Sports Betting Coalition filed the motions to legalize sports betting. The group includes the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Current, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and St. Louis SC. The coalition hopes to bring sports betting to the Show Me state after years of attempts.

The goal is to amend the Missouri constitution, and if approved, a public vote will take place on November 1, 2024. The Missouri Pro Sports Coalition, which is behind the proposals, needs to gather at least 170,000 signatures by May 5 to ensure that it makes it to the November ballot.

If the amendment is passed, the Missouri Gaming Commission would allow licenses to many operators, including:

  • Online operators
  • Gambling boats
  • Pro sports teams
  • Mobile operators

Operators would be taxed at 10%, with funds going towards education and the state’s Compulsive Gambling Prevention Fund.

After submitting the proposals in September, St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said, “We believe that this initiative petition language provides for a reasonable and responsible framework for the legalization of sports wagering that will, collectively, serve the best interests of all Missourians.”

What Would The Proposals Implement?

All eight proposals would implement a 10% tax on sports betting revenue. The proposals would also grant licenses to the state’s teams and casinos, and the license fees would vary between proposals.

A few of the versions would allow up to four online sportsbooks direct access to the market through the Missouri Gaming Commission. If successful, the proposals would set a start date of no later than December 31, 2025.

Why The Amendment to Legalize Sports Betting in Missouri?

The sports teams are going this route as an alternative to the more traditional one. That’s because Senator Denny Hoskins has made it clear on multiple occasions that he would hinder the progress of legalizing sports betting in Missouri unless his fellow lawmakers show support for Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) legislation.

According to SBC Americas, there were three sports betting bills up for debate last year. During one of them, Hoskins spoke for over an hour to protest about the lack of VLTs in one of the bills.

He stated: “They want to get rid of the illegal sports betting by legalizing it, but they don’t want to get rid of the unregulated video lottery terminals by legalizing video lottery terminals. I mean, it’s hilarious sometimes when they make that argument.”

What’s Next For The Push to Legalize Sports Betting in Missouri?

According to Ballotpedia, for an initiated constitutional amendment to be certified for the 2024 ballot in Missouri, the following requirements must be met:

  • A minimum of 171,592 valid signatures is needed, with the actual requirement varying based on the congressional districts where signatures are gathered.
  • Signatures must be submitted by May 5, 2024.

Once the signatures are submitted to the secretary of state, they are copied and sent to county election authorities for verification. The secretary of state has the option to choose between a 5 percent random sample verification or full verification.

If the random sample falls between 90 percent and 110 percent of the required signatures, a complete check of all signatures is necessary. Certification occurs if the count is more than 110 percent, while the initiative fails if it’s less than 90 percent.

The legalization of sports betting in Missouri appears to be on the horizon, but we’ll have to wait until May to see if the first of a few more hurdles is cleared. Bookmakers Review will continue to follow the developments.