Advocacy Group Secures More Than Enough Signatures to Bring Sports Betting to Missouri Ballot

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Kansas City Chiefs fans cheer against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 21, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. Jason Hanna/Getty Images/AFP

It looks like the people will get to decide the fate of sports betting in Missouri. That’s because an advocacy group says it has more than enough valid signatures on its petition to put the issue on the November ballot.

Winning for Missouri Education has collected nearly 325,000 signatures in a bid to legalize sports betting through a public vote. Just a month ago, the group announced it had surpassed the 100k milestone.

More Cash Flow

Spokesperson Jack Cardetti expressed the group’s gratitude for the overwhelming statewide support, viewing it as an indication of Missourians’ readiness to legalize sports betting. He emphasized that the move would also generate substantial annual funding for local schools.

“As the campaign approaches our goal of putting this on the November ballot, Missouri is a step closer to allowing Missouri adults to bet on sports while generating tens of millions in annual funding for our classrooms,” he said.

While already exceeding the 171,000 valid signatures the Missouri Secretary of State requires to include the issue in the November ballot, the group is now working towards collecting a total of 325,000 signatures before May 5.

Sports Betting Bill Remains Stalled

This accomplishment aligns with the current stalemate in the Missouri House, where a sports betting legalization proposal, HB 2331, is at a standstill. Despite previous approvals, the proposal is facing opposition, notably from Sen. Denny Hoskins.

The proposal would create online and in-person sportsbook licenses for the state’s 13 casinos and six professional sports teams. The Missouri Gaming Commission could also award two independent online licenses.  The state would tax sports betting revenue at 10%.

A campaign spearheaded by Missouri’s pro sports teams mirrors this legislative proposal. It would bring sports betting under the scope of the Missouri Gaming Commission.

Although HB 2331 remains on the informal perfection calendar, there is currently no urgent initiative to move the bill forward. Sen. Hoskins insists on incorporating video lottery terminals (VLT) into the legislation. However, this suggestion has been met with doubt by other legislators.

Gaming Commission Preparing for “Yes” Vote

Despite no official decision, a state agency in Missouri is already gearing up for the potential legalization of sports betting by year’s end.

The Missouri Gaming Commission would supervise sports betting in the state. Commission Director Jan Zimmerman told First Alert 4 News that the agency could establish regulations within a few months if the November ballot passes.

“We are–from a regulation standpoint, an oversight standpoint–we’re ready to hit the ground running,” Zimmerman said.

Polls: Majority Favors Sports Betting

Polls from Emerson College and Saint Louis University reveal a strong inclination, with over 60% of Missourians, toward the legalization of sports betting.

So, with nearly double the amount of signatures needed to get the initiative on the ballot, support from all six Missouri professional sports teams, and a gaming commission that is at the ready, it appears that it’s only a matter of time before sports betting could be legal in “The Show Me State.”

We’ll continue to follow the developments and bring you updates when they are warranted.