The Kansas City Chiefs are the early favorite to win next year’s Super Bowl, and should the Chiefs fulfil that expectation there stands a reasonable chance Missouri residents would be able to bet on the championship game.
Missouri legislators making it a priority to legalize sports betting within the state by the end of the 2019 legislative session. The Missouri Senate Economic Development Committee held a hearing last week on a bill, SB 222, that would allow both licensed casino boats and authorized online providers - as long as the person placing a wager was physically located in the state- to accept sports bets.
A full Senate vote on another bill, SB 44, legalizing sports betting is schedule to occur as early as Feb. 20, though no definitive timetable is set.
Even before the U.S. Supreme Court in May overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, banning legalized gambling outside Nevada, Missouri legislators actively tried last year to legalize sports betting within the state by introducing one Senate and two House bills.
However, those attempts to pass legislation proved futile as any bills made into law would’ve been hindered by the federal ban on sports betting that superseded any state law. But now that the Supreme Court has struck down the federal ban, Missouri is expected to join the growing number of states with legalized sports betting.
Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have since passed laws since the Supreme Court’s decision last May and now have sportsbooks operational within their boundaries. Experts contend there is a high likelihood that the number of states allowing sports betting will more than double by the end of 2019.
Of the many bills Missouri legislators are considering, SB 44 and SB 222 are the frontrunners and most likely to go before the General Assembly for a full vote. SB 44 is further along in the legislative process, having cleared the Senate Small Business and Industry Committee, though lawmakers are still discussing amendments.
Neither SB 44 nor SB 222 include what sports leagues refer to as an “integrity fee,” which would allocate a portion of any revenue derived from sports betting to the respective league the bet was placed on.
Among the differences between the two bills, SB 44 mandates a 12 percent tax on adjusted gross receipts along with a 2.5 percent administrative fee, in addition to a quarterly fee of 0.5 percent of the gross amount wagered to be remitted for a state “Entertainment Facilities Infrastructure Fund” to be used to help upgrade Missouri’s sporting venues.
SB 222 imposes a 7.75 percent tax rate on adjusted gross receipts. SB 222 was crafted to have a tax rate that would match the rate in Nevada and lower than every other state with legalized sports betting, with the lower figure devised as a way to make Missouri sportsbooks competitive against other sportsbooks in the surrounding area.
Neighbor states Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma are close to legalizing sports betting or moving toward doing so. Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons, though not a sports gambling advocate, has said he would not publicly obstruct a bill that legalized sports betting within the state.