What’s the State of Sports Betting in Missouri?

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A general view of Busch Stadium in St Louis, Missouri. Joe Puetz/Getty Images/AFP

Sports betting in Missouri remains unregulated despite legislative efforts. A petition drive by Winning For Missouri Education aimed to put the issue on the November ballot. Still, the legislature adjourned without passing sports betting legislation for a third consecutive year.

But it’s not for a lack of support. 

A ballot campaign report revealed that FanDuel and DraftKings continued to fuel the group’s signature collection this spring. FanDuel contributed $4 million in cash, while DraftKings added $2 million. Both companies made $250,000 in in-kind contributions.

The Money and Signatures Were There

The Winning for Missouri Education Committee submitted its 15 Days After Petition Deadline report, disclosing that of the $6.5 million the group raised during this election period, in their pursuit of signatures, the committee spent just under $6 million.

Before the May 5 deadline, the committee submitted 340,000 voter signatures —well above their intended target. To qualify for the state ballot, the initiative only needed to secure signatures from 8% of registered voters in six of the eight Missouri congressional districts, totaling at least 180,000 valid signatures.

The St. Louis Blues, Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Current, and St. Louis City SC also joined forces to advocate for sports betting on the 2024 ballot.  

Notably, seven of the eight states bordering Missouri have either operational or legalized sports betting.

What Sports Betting Bills are on The Table?

This process began when Missouri’s attempt to legalize sports betting failed for the second time last summer. The proposal supported by Winning for Missouri Education would allow licenses for casinos, sports teams, and online platforms. Each casino and team could run both online and in-person sportsbooks, with a 10% tax rate.”

In the legislative arena, a sports betting bill (HB 2331) has advanced through a second House Committee, showing promising odds for passage in the lower chamber. However, its prospects remain slim in the Senate.

Two separate bills have been introduced in the state senate, both allowing for online sports betting in addition to retail betting at riverboat casinos. Casinos can partner with up to three online operators, while each riverboat casino is eligible to collaborate with three online operators. Additionally, each professional sports team in the state can partner with a single mobile operator. 

The key differences between the proposed legislation (SB824) and (SB852) lie in the taxation rates on net winnings. Sen. Denny Hoskins’ second bill also seeks to legalize video lottery terminals (VLTs).

Video Lottery Terminals are a Contentious Issue

The fate of the initiative hinges on the issue of VLTs, which led to its failure last year. These stand-alone slot machines are available at gas stations, bars, and convenience stores across the state.

Sen. Hoskins’ opposition to any bill that excludes VLT legalization significantly diminishes the chances of success for the House proposal. 

Rep. Dan Houx introduced the most recent proposal in January, which successfully made it through the House in previous sessions. Unfortunately, the VLT language lacked broader legislative backing, and this year, with Hoskins still in the Senate, the House did not advance Houx’s bill.

So, sports betting in Missouri remains on hold until the next legislative session. Proposed bills to legalize sports betting may not pass even next year, so there’s uncertainty. Even if legislation is approved, setting up regulations and computer infrastructure will take time.”