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The debate over sports betting in Missouri continued on Tuesday as a coalition of sports franchises, casino operators, and reputable sportsbook companies backed the legalization of sports betting in the state. Legislators and lobbyists spent three hours discussing the potential benefits and drawbacks of launching the sports betting market.

The Sports Bills That Are on the Table

The main point of discussion revolved around two bills, HB 2502 and HB 2556. These bills were similar to Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer’s SB 1061 and Sen. Dan Hegeman’s SB 1046. A third bill known as HB1666 was not brought up by the House Special Committee on Public Policy.

The legislation began in early January and is ready to end on May 20th. It is unclear when the special committee will vote in regards to this issue. However, the coalition backing the bills has allowed the state to legalize sports betting soon.

Rep. Dan Houx, who filed HB 2502, stated to a media outlet, “It’s time to get it done…It was huge to get the coalition together.” No doubt launching the sports betting market will provide fans and bettors a new experience to support these teams.

Who is Backing the Coalition Push to Legalize Sports Betting

The coalition includes five of the six casino companies, which operate 13 riverboat casinos in the state. The ones that represent the cause consist of Penn National, which operates Barstool Sportsbooks. The professional organizations joining the cause are the Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis City SC, Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Blues, and the Kansas City Current.

Boyd Gaming was the only casino company outstanding, and VP of Governmental Affairs Ryan Soultz testified against the bill Tuesday. Soultz stated, “If the league data portion came out of the bill, you would find us with the other five casino operators.”

The 13 licensed will be able to get up to three skins which add up to a total of 39 skins. Sports organizations will be able to receive one skin. The coalition’s proposed tax rate is 10 percent. A recent legislative estimate suggests that Missouri could generate more than $15 million in annual taxes.

These sports venues can have sports betting lounges but no betting windows or kiosks.

Residents in Missouri have been used to crossing state lines to place wagers on sporting events. According to GeoComply, approximately 70,000 attempts were made throughout the state to place a bet on the Super Bowl through sportsbooks located in Illinois.

Sports betting markets have grown in Missouri’s neighboring states. For example, Illinois sports betting market has been a top market in the industry as the handle hit $786.9 million for December to close 2021.

Tennessee is a strong mobile sports betting market, while Arkansas is looking to expand its target market as the state is gearing up to add a mobile sports betting market. Kansas is also looking to join the industry, and if either Missouri or Kansas legalize it first, the other will most likely follow.