A Missouri lawmaker plans to pre-file legislation in December for Video Lottery Terminals to be taxed and regulated in 2022, according to Miisourinet.com. The comprehensive legislation will also include sports betting, horse racing, and eSports betting.
Sen. Denny Hoskins, who chairs the State Economic Development Committee, said the legislation would raise millions of dollars for education.
The local news site – Missourinet.com – quoted the Hoskins’ plans a week after he traveled to Chicago for the National Council of Legislators from the Gaming States conference. The slot machines – the common name for Video lottery terminals – were the central issue at the conference.
The state lawmakers have been working around sports betting legislation for over three years now, but the state has failed to regulate the industry until now.
What Did Hoskins Say?
While speaking to Missouinet earlier this month, Hoskins said,
“What I would like to do is to make sure slot machines are regulated and taxed. To make sure that if it says you’re going to win one out of every 50 times that, then the machine is being checked to ensure that you, as the customer, are actually going to win one out of every 50 times.”
Hoskins said he wants to ensure that the machine is not just taking customers’ tickets without ever issuing a winning ticket. The senator predicted that his slot machine legislation would raise nearly $250 million each year for K-12 education and for veteran homes.
The Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) are located in places such as convenience stores, bars, and truck stops.
A state judge has recently ruled that two “no chance” slot machines found at a convenience store violate state gambling laws. Hoskins says he looks forward to final court decisions, which could end up at the state’s Supreme Court.
Hoskins Plans A Comprehensive Legislation
Hoskins plans a comprehensive proposal, including sports betting, horse racing, regulated slot machines at non-casino venues, and eSports betting.
The senator said he will definitely pre-file a sports betting legislation, believing it would draw over $20 million annually in taxes for the Show-Me State. The prefiling season doesn’t start until Dec. 1 in Missouri.
Hoskins is also looking to include eSports, and horse racing in the legislations, noting that voters had approved pari-mutuel horse racing back in 1984.
Many VLTs Facing Legality Issues
There are currently 14,000 VLTs operating in Missouri. Many of those machines are facing legality issues in the court, Hoskins said.
While the senator is looking forward to the court’s decision on the two “no chance” slot machines found at a Parkville convenience store. He thinks VLTs need to be regulated and taxed appropriately – 32% going to the state and 4% to the local government.
Hoskins praised the ideal slot machines system in the state of Illinois, saying there are nearly 8,000 locations with VLTs in Illinois only. There are as many as 40,000 machines that bring in nearly $1.6 billion for the Land of Lincoln.
Hoskins’ Proposal Faces Formidable Opposition
However, Hoskins’ gaming proposal faces formidable opposition from Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, who said the reported illegal Missouri slot machines are “a tax on most poor people. According to Schatz, there are nearly 20,000 of those machines in the state.
Missouri Lottery executive director May Scheve Reardon has testified that the VLTs are hurting public education in the Show-Me State. The director, who’s also a former state representative, said there’s a major concern with the machines along the 1-44 corridor, from around St. James to Lebanon.
But Hoskins persists with his all-inclusive gaming agenda in 2022, which includes sports betting, horse racing, and eSports.
Prefiling of bills for the state’s 2022 legislative session will begin on Dec. 1.