Missouri Sports Betting Bill Still at the Center of Legislative Debates

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Missouri and neighboring state Kansas have been locked in a heated competition over who will legalize sports betting first. However, a few days ago, Kansas sports betting was dealt a devastating blow when the legalization process was delayed by a legislative break. So, will Missouri be able to pull out in front when it comes to this rivalry?

Missouri legislators held a hearing a few days ago surrounding the issue of legal Missouri sports betting. The Missouri sports betting bill, HB 2502, was the center of a public hearing from the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee a few days ago. Giving Missouri another edge over Kansas, the legislative session for the state will run until May 13.

However, no action was taken as a result of the hearing — yet. Even so, the Missouri sports betting bill has been able to garner support in the state and in the state government. The bill was able to progress out of the state House following a vote of 115 to 33.

When the legislation session began weeks ago, there were multiple Missouri sports betting bills to be discussed, which had the support of a coalition consisting of professional sports teams in the state, Missouri casinos, and major sportsbook operators. These bills were filed in both the House as well as the Senate. However, HB 2502 from Missouri Representative Dan Houx was the first to move beyond the House, which it did on March 24.

HB 2502 would legalize retail sports betting held at the 13 riverboat casinos in the state of Missouri. In addition, the bill would also create 39 online skins. Thirty three of these skins would be given to the Missouri casino operators. The remaining six would go to the six professional sports teams in the state.

During debates on the House floor, an amendment was introduced and approved to reduce the rate of taxation from 10 percent to 8 percent. This was done in order to create a lower tax rate than the one proposed by rival state Kansas in their sports betting bill.

A competing sports betting proposal was introduced by state Senator Denny Hoskins. This bill would include lottery retails, as well as see a tax rate of 21 percent, which is in line with existing casino games in Missouri. Senator Hoskins, who sits on the Appropriations Committee, has questioned why HB 2502 is better than his proposal.

Hoskins feels that a low tax rate of 8 percent would cause the state to miss out on millions of dollars of potential tax revenue. He feels the tax rate is too low, as it would be the second lowest rate out of all the states in their area. He does not feel HB 2502 is the best Missouri sports betting bill the legislators can come up with.

Hoskins is also concerned about the amount of online skins that would be allocated to the state’s professional teams. He feels that the sports teams would have too great an opportunity to make money from sportsbook operators who want to find their way into the state’s market.

This comes at a time when the Kansas City Chiefs are rumored to be looking into a relocation to Kansas. As a result, during the hearing, state Senator Barbara Washington referenced the team as part of several jabs directed toward Kansas. She questioned the Vice President of Civic Affairs for the Kansas City Chiefs, Anne Scharf, about the team’s commitment to staying in the state.

Anne Scharf in turn voiced her support for the bill. She also mentioned that the Chiefs are looking into possibly renovating Missouri’s Arrowhead Stadium, whether it is viable. And she referenced that the team is planning to honor their current lease on the stadium, which has nine years left on it.

However, it is important to note that the current Kansas sports betting bill includes an 80 percent allocation of tax revenue that would go towards a dedicated fund for attracting sports teams to Kansas. So, it is no wonder the rumor of the Chiefs potential location has gained credence.

The Kansas legislative session will be returning from their break on April 25. So, the Missouri legislature still has time to make moves before that happens, but not that much time.

Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.

The featured image for this post was sourced from Getty Images.