Missouri lawmakers have filed two house bills — HB581 and HB556. Both bills have the same goal in mind – to bring Missouri sports betting to interested players in the state.
Lawmakers initiate two Missouri sports betting bills
State Representative Phil Christofanelli, St. Peters Republican, has filed legislation to make sports betting legalized in Missouri. Christofanelli is a sponsor of House Bill 581, which was filed on Jan. 4.
During the past three legislative sessions, Christofanelli filed legislation concerning sports betting, but it passed out of the House. This year, the St. Peters Republican hopes it will finally make it through.
In a press release to KCTV5, Christofanelli said: “it’s just simply been too long for our legislature to fail to act on this issue that’s so important to many of our constituents.” Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Houx, a Republican and the sponsor of House Bill 556, filed his bill on Jan. 3.
The legislation now awaits to be assigned to a committee for further discussion.
House bills propose a tax rate of 10%
HB581 and HB556 have proposed the same 10% tax rate in Missouri for sportsbooks. The proposed tax rate would make the state competitive with its neighbors.
Casinos would be the ones paying that tax. Sportsbooks, however, wouldn’t be expected to use official league data.
Both bills also lay out funding to help treat those with gambling addiction.
“We want to make sure if there are going to be any more revenues coming in from gaming we are also attending to needs of anyone who may have a problem with gambling addiction,” Christofanelli said.
Houx stated that unlike earlier attempts to legalize sports betting in Missouri, neither house bill proposes any regulation for video lottery terminals. In an interview with LocalToday, Houx stated his preference to keep the issues separate.
“I’ve always believed that video lottery and sports betting are two separate bills, so it’s just one bill for sports betting.”
Missourians frequently cross state borders to gamble on sports
Most of Missouri’s neighboring states have legalized sports betting. Kansas legalized sports betting in September and joined Arkansas, Illinois and Iowa as neighboring states with legal online gambling.
Nebraska legalized sports betting in 2021, but it still needs to go live.
On the first day Kansas sports betting went live, 16,000 people from Missouri tried to bet from inside the state lines. As Christofanelli explained:
“Sports betting in Missouri is already happening. Missourians frequently cross state lines to place bets or go through online avenues that don’t bring the state any revenue.
Legalizing sports betting is a common-sense issue. I hope this is the year we can get this done so we can give Missourians more personal freedom and bring more revenue to our state.”
Houx feels the same, stating, “today, with geofencing, we can see people crossing the Missouri River and the Mississippi River in St. Louis, they have a red light on, it turns green, they make a U-turn at the next exit and head home.”