Missouri’s professional sports teams are actively pushing for the realization of legal sports betting within the state, demonstrating a heightened commitment to this cause.
Six major professional sports teams in Missouri have begun seeking signatures for a petition to place the legalization of sports betting on the November ballot. The teams that have come together in the effort include:
- St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
- Kansas City Royals (MLB)
- Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
- St. Louis Blues (NHL)
- Kansas City Current
- St. Louis City soccer teams
Pro teams to bear petition costs
The sports teams in Missouri announced they would begin collecting signatures at two prominent events:
- A St. Louis Cardinals offseason gathering
- A St. Louis Blues home game
To meet the qualification requirements for the ballot, supporters have until May to submit approximately 180,000 signatures from registered voters. By targeting events that draw substantial crowds, the teams aim to maximize their reach and successfully garner the necessary support within the stipulated timeframe.
According to reports, the teams said gathering petitions and signatures and carrying out advertising campaigns would eventually cost them millions of dollars. However, they are not bothered by this factor because they know the benefits that will come to the state outweigh the money spent.
DraftKings and FanDuel have also recently demonstrated their support for the ballot initiative by contributing $250,000 each to a newly established campaign committee.
Bill DeWitt III, president of the St. Louis Cardinals, said in a statement that the primary objective is to create a regulatory framework that not only facilitates sports betting but also prioritizes the safety and well-being of both teams and fans, according to the Associated Press.
“We are united in our goal of supporting the legalization of sports wagering in Missouri in a reasonable, safe, and responsible way that is good for our teams, our fans, our Missouri teachers, and our other citizens of Missouri.”
That said, our recent state-by-state online gaming legislation guide gives Missouri a 10% chance of passing sports betting legislation this year.
A background on Missouri sports betting legislation
Early in 2023, the Missouri House had a decisive vote of 118-35. However, the proposed legislation faced an impasse as it did not proceed to a Senate vote.
This recurring scenario reflects a pattern where comparable bills have consistently encountered obstacles within the Republican-dominated Senate.
The legislative process remains stagnant as lawmakers grapple with finding common ground on the dual issues of sports betting and the regulation of slot-machine-style games. Despite the opposition from casino operators in the state, Republican state Sen. Denny Hoskins firmly expressed his stance, stating, “It should be all or nothing.”
However, the beginning of this year witnessed two state lawmakers introducing Missouri sports betting bills, SB852 and SB824, both aimed at the legalization of sports betting.
Various entities are uniting to present their appeals to the state. Despite the US Supreme Court lifting the ban on sports betting in states five years ago, progress has been sluggish in Missouri. Neighboring states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas have successfully legalized sports betting within their jurisdictions.
Missouri sports betting proposal includes retail and online operations
The proposed constitutional amendment aims to grant authorization for onsite and mobile sports betting to be provided by all 13 casinos and six professional sports teams in Missouri.
Under this proposal, the teams would have jurisdiction over onsite betting activities and advertising within a 400-yard (366-meter) radius of their respective stadiums and arenas.
Also, the initiative proposes the licensing of two mobile sports betting operators directly by the Missouri Gaming Commission.
If Missouri passes a bill to legalize sports betting, it will join other states that have recently legalized sports betting, like Maine and Vermont. Although both states are still looking forward to updating their betting offerings to match the ever-evolving wagering market.