Missouri Sports Betting Moves Closer To House Vote

Missouri is inching that much closer to the legalization of sports gambling.  The state’s two sports wagering bills, HB 2502 and HB 2556, were recently advanced by the state’s House Special Committee.  The bills will now make their way to the Missouri House Rules Committee for Administrative oversight.  The state’s legislative session comes to a close on May 13, meaning if sports gambling will be made legal this year, it must pass into law by mid-spring.

Compromise Is On The Horizon

The aim of the bills noted above is to spur a House vote.  However, the House Rules Committee for Administrative Oversight will have to vote in favor of the bills so they can progress to the next step of the legislation process.  Legal experts insist compromise including considerable rewrites of the bills’ language will likely occur in the days and weeks ahead.

As the bills currently stand, their language states there is a 10% tax applicable to sportsbooks’ adjusted gross receipts.  However, there is the potential for this taxation rate to be altered when the bills make their way to the final committee.  

The bills also contain language that delves into the considerable state licensing fees applicable to applicants that are approved to operate a sportsbook within Missouri.  The final committee has the potential to adjust this percentage.  Furthermore, the e bills detail the considerable licensing fees the state will charge applicants who are given the green light to move forward with sports wagering operations.  

Mobile platforms must pay a licensing fee of $150,000.  Casinos with brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are required to pay a $100,000 licensing fee.  Add in the fact that the annual renewal licensing fee amounts to $125,000 and the path to building a successful sports wagering business becomes that much more challenging.

Support For Missouri Sports Legalization Is Widespread

Missouri’s HB 2556 and HB 2502 stand a good chance of passing into law, partially because they have support throughout the state.  Missouri’s native tribes have expressed support for the passage of the bills.  The state’s professional sports teams are also in favor of legalizing sports gambling.  

Addressing The Challenge Of Potential Addiction

Though most sports fans embrace the idea of legalizing sports gambling, there is the looming question of how to provide assistance to those who become addicted to wagering on professional and collegiate sports.  Missouri legislators are engaged in a debate about the money to be earmarked to address sports gambling problems that will inevitably arise after legalization.  The last committee hiked the funds dedicated to sports gambling addiction from $250,000 to half a million dollars.  However, this figure is not set in stone.  

The Deadline Is Quickly Approaching

The May 13 deadline to legalize sports gambling in Missouri is two months away.  It is at this point that the state’s legislative session will come to a close.  The plain truth of the matter is that it takes a considerable amount of effort and time to transition from a bill to a law.  It is quite possible that HB 2502 and HB 2556 do not pass by the deadline. 

If the legislation passes the House Oversight Committee, it will transition to the floor of the House for a vote.  It is at this point that the Senate will choose to approve or deny the bills.  Stay tuned for additional developments in the weeks ahead.

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