As per MI, the launch of sports betting in Missouri is facing a major obstacle due to the presence of a competing form of gambling in the state. Supporters of video lottery games, which are available at gas stations and convenience stores, are pushing for the inclusion of video lottery machines in the sports betting bill. However, this request is not acceptable for proponents of sports wagering, leading to a deadlock in the progression of the bill. Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden acknowledged the stalemate, stating, “Both sides are pretty entrenched.”
The proposed amendments to the bill, HB 2502, would allow six sports teams playing in arenas with at least 11,500 seats to obtain a sports gambling license, along with the 13 land-based casino operators and two online sports wagering platforms. The bill would enable bets to be placed online or in person, with an estimated annual gross gaming revenue of $28.9 million. Additionally, the bill proposes a 10 percent tax on the net gaming revenue, with $5 million allocated to the problem gaming fund and the remaining revenue directed to public education programs.
FanDuel and DraftKings, the leading online sports betting operators, have collectively contributed $250,000 each to the campaign committee Winning for Missouri Education, alongside funding from sports teams such as the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis CITY SC, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, and the Kansas City Current. The organization aims to gather between 171,592 and 188,537 signatures by May 8, 2024, to advance the bill to the ballot.
The Missouri sports wagering market is projected to reach around $1.8 billion annually, closely following the revenue generated by the Missouri Lottery and land-based casinos. This estimate is supported by the success of sports betting in neighboring Kansas, which recorded a $1.85 billion handle in the first year of its launch. Campaign organizers believe that legalizing sports wagering will help regulate the black market in the state, as an estimated $2 billion is currently being bet by Missourians through offshore gaming websites or in neighboring states.