The prospect of Missouri sports betting legislation passing before Friday’s deadline is looking grim.
Multiple legislative and industry sources tell LSR that while MO sports betting discussions are ongoing, the shrinking time frame provides a potentially insurmountable hurdle. For now, the legislature is focused on finishing easy bills before heading to tougher issues, like sports betting, according to one lobbyist Wednesday.
“Discussions are ongoing and continuing, but I’m not sure the gap can be closed between the various parties given the time constraints,” a Missouri legislative source told LSR Wednesday.
What happened in Missouri?
Earlier this session, MO sports betting legislation appeared to have strong momentum. A proposal backed by a coalition of sports teams, casinos and sportsbook operators cruised through the House.
That bill (HB 2502) included:
- Retail sports betting at 13 Missouri casinos
- 39 online skins split between six casino operators and six professional sports teams.
- 10% tax rate
- $150,000 skin fee
However, Sen. Denny Hoskins has looked to increase the potential revenue for the state through a higher tax rate, while also including contentious video lottery terminals (VLT.) While negotiations continue behind the scenes, various parties including casinos, remain at odds with the new proposals.
Two Missouri sports betting proposals flop
At the beginning of the legislative session, Hoskins filed a competing proposal to the coalition-backed effort that included a 21% tax rate in line with other casino gaming in Missouri. His adversarial position against the coalition-backed bill was apparent in committee meetings.
Hoskins then filibustered the House bill on the Senate floor, hoping to include language legalizing VLTs
As the House bill lost steam in the Senate, Hoskins tried two separate compromise proposals ,with neither achieving a vote:
- 10% tax rate, 5,000 VLTs, no parlays at Missouri Lottery retailers.
- 15% tax rate, $1.25 million per skin, no VLTs and parlays at lottery retailers.
Missouri neighbors with sports betting
Missouri lawmakers throughout the session brought up losing tax dollars to neighbors with sports betting, particularly Illinois and Iowa.
The Show-Me State will soon border another market with sports betting once Kansas goes live. MO legislators hoped to beat their neighboring rival to legalization before the coalition proposal went off the rails.
While anything can happen by Friday’s deadline, it appears Missouri sports betting proponents might come up short this year.
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