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Missouri House to Vote on Bills to Legalize Sports Betting

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Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Truman the Tiger, mascot of the Missouri Tigers.

A pair of bills that would legalize sports betting in Missouri are advancing through the legislature.

A Missouri House Special Committee on Public Policy voted 4-2 on Wednesday to send two identical bills to the House floor that would legalize online and retail betting.

The proposed legislation would allow the state’s 13 casinos to take in-person wagers on sports and provide up to 39 online skins for casinos and professional sports teams. 

Lawmakers have yet to put a bow on a tax rate, though a coalition of six of the state’s professional sports teams is recommending a 10% levy. License fees are still being discussed.

Amendments were added Wednesday that would allow operators to deduct promotional bets from their taxable base (phased out over five years), increase revenue for problem gambling from $200,000 to $500,000 annually and prohibit betting on high school sports.

“I personally think this bill still needs work, but there is a desire by the bodies of this institution to see this bill move,” said Rep. Scott Cupps.

A pair of similar bills has been introduced in the Senate.

Cupps, along with other committee members, expressed great desire for an off-site mobile wagering fee that would go back to the county in which any online wager is made.

“It should not be like a money funnel from rural Missouri to wherever these licenses are distributed,” he said. “The locales would at least like to see some crumbs.”

Cupps refuted the notion that it would be too difficult to administer, adding that sports betting providers “keep track of some of the most advanced odds in the world.”

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