A lone Missouri state Senator who has been a roadblock to legal sports betting in the state might be stepping aside.
Sen. Denny Hoskins, who was blamed for his role in disrupting the final days of the Missouri legislative session, now wants to shift his focus to “election integrity.”
Is the Missouri sports betting roadblock removed?
For the second year, the Missouri House passed standalone sports betting legislation. However, the Senate failed to take up the bill. When Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer filed companion legislation, Hoskins filibustered the bill.
In May, Jeff Morris, VP of Public Affairs for Penn Entertainment, said Hoskins was the sole reason for the obstruction.
“I think we’ve reached the point now that one senator halted sports betting in Missouri and that’s Denny Hoskins. Everybody is on board except one guy.”
Lawmakers would eventually attach sports betting legislation to one of Hoskins’ bills to get the senator on board. Instead, Hoskins refused to take up his bill and give in to the attempt to pass sports betting without video lottery terminals (VLTs).
With lawmakers failing to pass sports betting yet again, proponents might consider bringing the issue straight to voters.
Earlier this year, St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt said if lawmakers didn’t legalize sports betting, teams would look into circumventing the legislature and putting the issue to voters by filing a ballot initiative.
Senator Hoskins eyeing Secretary of State position
Missouri sports betting legislation failed to pass for the sixth consecutive year. Hoskins’ insistence that Missouri authorizes video lottery terminals (VLTs) with sports betting might be gone for good. But that specific issue remains to be seen.
For now, Hoskins is eyeing a run for Missouri Secretary of State, a position currently held by term-limited Jay Ashcroft. Speaking with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hoskins said:
“We need someone in the Secretary of State’s office who will fight for Missouri and stand up to ensure the integrity of our election system. I am proud to have supported legislation to protect Missourians from voter fraud and make our state’s elections among the most transparent in the nation.”