Place your bets, but not in Missouri. Sports betting fans look to next year | Policy

JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri residents who want to bet on sports legally will have to head to the borders to initiate their bets.

While five of Missouri’s eight bordering states – Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and Tennessee – have legalized betting, efforts to follow suit in the Show-Me state have again failed to the Legislative Assembly.

When the General Assembly adjourned for last year last week, a high-profile push by six of the state’s professional sports teams and most of Missouri’s 13 casinos ended in a thud.

Trade groups that had pushed for a package expressed disappointment, saying legal betting would have brought tax revenue to the state and consumer protections for Missourians.

“With sports betting now legal in Kansas and other neighboring states, Missouri has become a virtual island. But that won’t stop Missourians from betting. Residents will just travel out of state, or worse , will place mistaken trust with illegal offshore websites,” said John Pappas, state advocacy director for iDEA Growthan online gaming industry group.

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Teams including the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues and St. Louis City Soccer Club brought lobbying power and a fresh approach to the issue to the 2022 legislative session after the failed of three previous attempts to launch sports betting. .

Rather than a package of legislation tied to a controversial attempt to rid the state of the illegal slot machines that now populate gas stations and liquor stores, a plan emerged that would focus solely on introducing sports betting windows in casinos and professional venues. stadiums, as well as online platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel.

“I’ve always believed that sports betting and video lottery are two separate issues,” Rep. Dan HollyR-Warrensburg, who sponsored the House version of the bill.

The House acted quickly, approving a plan that included an 8% betting tax and licensing fees that would be paid by casinos and teams.

In the Senate, the plan ran into well-known obstacles.

Sen. Denny HoskinR-Warrensburg, blocked the House version when it came up for debate in the Senate, arguing that the expansion of gambling must also extend to video lottery terminals.

“You’re not going to have one without the other,” the senator said. Karla Maya St. Louis Democrat, said during a debate in late April.

But according to Hoskins’ version, illegal slot machines operated by politically connected companies like Torch Electronics would have been banned if they operated in locations that also sell Missouri Lottery products.

Enter the senator. mike moonR-Ash Grove, who has received more than $15,000 in campaign contributions from political action committees linked to powerful Torch lobbyist, former House Speaker Steve Tilley.

When a separate amendment was introduced in an attempt to combat the spread of so-called “grey machines” operated by Torch, Moon embarked on the filibuster, signaling the death of any attempt to find a compromise in the last hours of the Senate session.

A last-ditch effort to reach an agreement failed

This puts the issue back in the mix for the 2023 session, with a new set of players following the departure of sports betting supporters and opponents.

Holly said he and Hoskins are committed to working through the summer to find a way forward. He said not having Hoskins on board at the start may have been a tactical error.

“I would have preferred to involve Senator Hoskins earlier to try to get everyone to the table early on,” Holly said.

There is another potential path that could be taken.

Sports teams had filed documents in October in an attempt to get the case to voters in November, but did not begin the process of collecting signatures, believing a compromise plan would emerge from the Legislative Assembly.

That effort is dead for the year, but could resurface next year if teams and casinos feel the issue can’t be resolved by lawmakers.

“We hope lawmakers and stakeholders will do the right thing and agree to pass legislation in the next legislative session,” Pappas said.

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