Missouri Sports Betting Efforts Fail Again This Year

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The Missouri legislative session ended Thursday, killing the hopes of making Missouri the 36th state with legal sports betting.

The state residents will have to wait at least another year to place legal bets in the state.

It is the fourth consecutive year that Missouri lawmakers have adjourned legislative sessions despite discussing the prospects of regulated sports betting.

The Missouri Senate left Springfield without a sports betting deal on the same day as Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill into law. Both Missouri and Kansas had been competing to legalize sports betting first.

Until a few weeks ago, Missouri lawmakers appeared on track to pass a sports betting bill. But Sen. Denny Hoskins’ ominous filibuster apparently derailed the process. Hoskins wanted to pass a sports betting bill tied up with the video gaming terminals’ legalization.

The Missouri House had passed HB 2502 – a standalone sports betting bill – which Hoskins did not like.

Though Hoskins later dropped his VLT-led agenda, it was too late for his next bill to get approval in the ending days of this session.

Hoskins Shifts Blame to Casinos

On Thursday afternoon, Hoskins shifted the blame to the state’s casinos for sports wagering failure in this year’s session. In a tweet, the senator said the casinos were offered 3 different bills on sports betting. “Unfortunately, the casinos said NO, and the bill died.”

Hoskins said that he was not the sponsor of the bill, adding that Majority Caucus Chairman Dan Hegeman – who sponsored it – would not allow a vote unless there was a consensus on it.

Missouri is home to 13 state-licensed commercial casinos.

The Missouri Gaming Association – the trade group representing those casinos – did not immediately respond to the senator’s statement late Thursday night when the Senate voted to adjourn its 2022 session a day early.

Missouri Loses the Race to Kansas

Even before Hoskin’s renewed attempts to bring legalized sports betting recently, his colleague Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer predicted that sports betting was not coming this year.

Missouri apparently succumbed to the added pressure to finalize a deal thanks to neighboring Kansas legalizing a sports betting bill – the day after Missouri failed to pass its bill in the Senate.

Kansas hopes to allow Missouri sports bettors to place Super Bowl bets across the state on the Kansas City Chiefs – the Missouri-based professional football team.

Kansas sports betting law also includes a provision that would allow revenue from the new industry to be used to attract pro teams to the Sunflower State.

The Chiefs, St. Louis Blues, and St. Louis Cardinals have expressed their support for legal sports betting to Missouri lawmakers this year.

How Have We Reached Here?

Hoskins, the self-proclaimed champion of sports betting in the Show-Me State, has filed a bill to that effect ahead of each of the last four legislative sessions. Each proposal also included legalizing VLTs, and all have failed.

HB 2502 cleared the Missouri House this year by a 115-33 vote on March 24. But Hoskin’s VLT-led agenda allowed it to die on the Senate floor on April 27 following Hoskins and one of his colleagues’ filibuster.

Hoskins tried to renew efforts a week after his eventful filibuster, but his standalone bill also failed.

HB 2502, the bill that fell victim to the VLT-led agenda two weeks ago, would have allowed the casinos to offer statewide mobile and retail sports betting. It would levy an 8% tax on sports betting revenue. The proceeds from the industry would have been earmarked for problem gambling and education.

With Kansas legalizing sports betting earlier this week, Missouri has virtually been surrounded by sports betting states. Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, and Arkansas have already launched the industry. Nebraska and Kansas are in the process of launching after legalization.

Kentucky and Oklahoma are the only states bordering Missouri which have not legalized sports betting yet.

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