Missouri opens session with lawmakers eyeing sports betting bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — House Bill 581, filed Wednesday, and House Bill 556, filed Tuesday, have the same goal in mind, Bringing sports betting to Missouri.

“It’s just been too long since our Legislature hasn’t acted on this issue that is so important to many of our constituents,” said Rep. Phil Christofanelli, a St. Peters Republican and HB 581 sponsor.

Kansas joined Arkansas, Illinois and Iowa as neighboring states with legal and live sports betting in September. Nebraska legalized sports betting in 2021 but has yet to go live. 16,000 people attempted to bet within Missouri state lines on the first day of sports betting in Kansas.

“Today, with geofencing, we can see people crossing the Missouri River and the Mississippi River in St. Louis, they have a red light on, it turns green, they make a U-turn at the next exit and head home,” Rep. Dan Houx , R, Warrensburg, said the sponsor of HB 556.

The Kansas Lottery announced that net revenue from sports betting exceeded $10 million for the first three months. That represented more than $1 million in the state’s 10 percent cut.

Bills introduced by Republicans Dan Houx of Warrensburg and Phil Christofanelli of the St. Louis area would introduce the same 10% tax on sports betting in Missouri. Unlike Senate Bill 1, proposed by another Warrensburg Republican, Sen. Denny Hoskins, their bills do not include regulation of video lottery terminals. These were a sticking point in the past debate.

“I’ve always believed that video lottery and sports betting are two separate bills, so it’s just one bill for sports betting,” Houx said of his bill.

The latest version of Houx’s bill, filed in 2023, includes so-called “prop bets” on individual performances by college athletes. Both House bills include measures to explore the best ways to help compulsive gamblers.

“We want to make sure that when there is going to be more revenue from gambling, we also cater to the needs of everyone with problem gambling,” Christofanelli said.

Though much remains to be worked out, the Bill sponsors say they value their chances.

“We’re back, we’ll keep working hard on it. I believe it will be one of the top 10 bills to come out of the house this year,” Houx said.

Houx predicts that one of those bills would make it into committee in the next few weeks and out of the House early next month, when they can then begin working out differences with the Senate version tied to video lottery terminals.

It is estimated that passing sports bets would bring in Missouri $15 to $20 million a year.

https://fox2now.com/news/politics/missouri-opens-session-with-lawmakers-eyeing-sports-betting-bill/ Missouri opens session with lawmakers eyeing sports betting bill

Sarah Y. Kim

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