Missouri sports betting clears next hurdle

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 10:46 PM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A bill to legalize sports betting in Missouri is now on the calendar for debate on the senate floor, indicating senate leadership wants to see it move forward.

Debate could begin by the end of the month.

Parkville Republican Senator Tony Luetkemeyer introduced the bill. Previous attempts to legalize sports betting in the state of Missouri have failed.

“What I’m hoping is different about this year is the fact that Kansas passed it last legislative session,” Luetkemeyer said. “That really puts the pressure on Missouri to get something done.”

Super Bowl LVII put a punctuation mark on what Missouri is missing out on.

The phone apps for betting require that you’re standing in a legal betting state when you use them. They track that. It came up during testimony in last week’s committee hearing as evidence that the demand is there.

“One of the witnesses said that there were over 250,000 attempted bets just on the Super Bowl alone in Missouri,” Luetkemeyer recounted. “So, either those failed bets ended up just not being placed at all, they ended up being placed in Kansas or Illinois, or they ended up being placed with an illegal out-of-country bookie. Those are all huge problems.”

Senate Bill 30, and two companion house bills, stipulate that the bulk of the tax proceeds will go to K-through-12 education.

Since 2018, six of the eight states that border Missouri have legalized sports betting.

In previous sessions, similar Missouri bills were derailed because of attempts to combine sports betting with video lottery terminals, or VLTs, another form of gaming. The devices look like smaller versions or slot machines and can be seen in other states in places like truck stops.

Robert Linnehan, who about sports gaming legislation across the nation in XL Media, remarked on which bills have advanced out of committee this session.

“They only deal with sports betting. They don’t include a VLT component. Any bill that has had sort of a combination sports betting-VLT component, they’ve all been rejected in committee so far.”

“If we had a standalone vote on a clean sports wagering bill, it would pass with flying colors in the Senate,” Luetkemeyer declared.

There’s still plenty of time for maneuvering to change language during the various steps before a bill becomes law.

But even if it does pass, it would not become effective until late August. So, all the March Madness and NFL Draft action would still go to the surrounding states.