Missouri Legislators Debate Legalizing Sports Betting Following Restrictions on Super Bowl Bets for Chiefs Fans

Missouri legislators are hopeful that 2023 will bring a different outcome in terms of authorizing sports betting than in previous legislative sessions. Kansas City Chiefs supporters watched the Super Bowl at Kansas City Live! on February 12th that year, but sports betting in Missouri was still prohibited. Accordingly, lawmakers have resumed their legislative endeavors in the hopes that Chiefs fans will be able to legally place bets on their team soon.

The Missouri General Assembly had come close to legalizing sports betting the year before. The House of Representatives had passed two related measures during the 2022 session; however, their legislative package was hindered in the Senate by Senator Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg. The Senator had stated his support for introducing both online and retail sportsbooks in the state, but he had also sought to legalize video gaming terminals and so-called “skill gaming” machines. This led to the Senate not passing the sports betting package and the fifth year in a row that an attempt to do so failed in Jefferson City.

35 US states have passed laws authorizing sports gambling since the US Supreme Court abolished the federal ban on single-game sports betting in May 2018. Yet, Missouri is not one of them, despite six of the state’s eight neighbors having done so. Currently, regulated sportsbooks are operational in Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and Tennessee.

State Representatives Dan Houx of Warrensburg and Phil Christofanelli from St. Peters are spearheading the sports betting initiative this year. They have introduced legislation that would establish online and in-person sports betting as authorized forms of gambling. The proposed statutes would only permit persons aged 21 and up to participate and would tax sportsbook revenues at 10%. Each casino would be authorized to run a retail sportsbook and up to three online skins, while each professional sports stadium would be allowed to open a brick-and-mortar sportsbook and partner with a single online platform.

According to state fiscal analysis of the bills, Missouri could potentially generate up to $29.3 million annually in new tax revenue once the sports betting market matures; this money would be allocated to the state’s education fund. The Missouri Gaming Commission would be responsible for regulating sports betting.

The Missouri General Assembly is in session until May 12th, offering Houx and Christofanelli enough time to deal with potential opponents and obstructionists. Their legislation was examined last Wednesday by the House