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Missouri House Passes Sports Betting Bills

Missouri House Passes Sports Betting Bills article feature image
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Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs

Legal sports betting in Missouri is as close to reality as it’s ever been.

Two bills that would legalize online and retail betting passed the Missouri House of Representatives Thursday by a 115-33 vote. The Senate must now pass identical versions before sending any measures to Gov. Mike Parson (R) for his signature.

It is by far the most progress Missouri has made on sports betting.

The first sports betting bill was introduced back in 2018. Since then no bill had made a full House vote, in part because they included tweaks to other areas of gaming.

Today’s bills stick strictly to sports betting. They’re backed by Missouri’s pro sports teams, casinos and the Sports Betting Alliance—which lobbies for legalization state to state.

Pro Sports Teams and Casinos

Under the bills, Missouri’s six pro teams and 13 casinos would be eligible for licenses.

Each casino would get one retail skin and up to three online skins. Their owners, of which there are some who own multiple casinos, would be limited to a maximum of six online skins. Teams would get one online skin each and could partner with sports betting companies.

The 8% tax rate on gross gaming revenue is lower than what teams and casinos had originally pushed for, and much lower than some tax rates floated during committee hearings.

To offset that low rate, lawmakers added an amendment that ups license fees from $100,000 to $150,000 and annual renewal fees from $50,000 to $125,000.

Operators will be able to deduct promotional bets from their taxable revenue base, but only temporarily as the perk phases out over five years.

Path in the Senate

Missouri’s legislative session ends May 13, giving lawmakers ample time to work through any differences before signing the bills into law.

And there are a few.

Similar bills pending in the Senate would give lottery retailers licenses and tax gaming revenue at a much higher 21% rate.

For sports betting to become law each chamber must pass identical versions.

It’s likely the House and Senate will need to form a conference committee to close the gap between their bills if that is to happen.

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