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Two Missouri Legislators File Separate Sports Betting Bills

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Two lawmakers in Missouri have introduced a pair of bills aiming to legalize sports betting in the state. While the bills were filed separately, they contain similar languages with the intent to establish a framework for legal sports betting operations within Missouri.

The first bill, SB852 was filed by Sen. Tony Leutkemeyer, marking his second attempt to introduce legal sports betting in Missouri. His initial bill failed to secure enough Senate support during the 2023 legislative session.

Implications for Sports Betting

SB852 covered several aspects of the industry, like tax, licensing, and partnerships. The bill mandates that Riverboat casinos can collaborate with a maximum of three online sports betting providers, while professional teams are permitted to partner with one online sportsbook.

It sets a license fee of $100,000, requiring renewal fees every four years. Additionally, the legislation stipulates a minimum age requirement of 21 for participation and prohibits betting on school sports. While it allows college sports betting, wagers on in-state teams are not allowed, and the bill also restricts prop bets on college sports.

The bill outlines a 12% tax on Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR), as well as a 100% deduction for promotions in the first year, with subsequent reductions of 25% annually thereafter.

The second bill was introduced by Sen. Denny Hoskins, who has actively supported the legalization of video lottery terminals (VLTs) in the past. This forms the main focus of his proposed bill. However, the bill also contained provisions to legalize sports betting.

SB824 shares much of the language of the first bill. However, it caps the number of sports betting providers riverboats can partner with at two. The bill requires riverboats to pay an administration fee of $250,000 for the initial partnership and $500,000 for the second one. Additionally, SB824 proposes a slightly lower tax rate of 10% on sports wagering Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR).

November Ballot May Include Sports Betting

Last November, Missouri's Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft sanctioned the language for a ballot measure regarding legal sports betting. Backed by the state's professional sports teams, this measure is presently in the petition stage.

Supporters of the measures need to gather 170,000 signatures to include sports betting on the ballot. The coalition submitted eight proposed ballot questions, which vary slightly in language and specifics. Nonetheless, all versions advocate for a 10% tax on wagers and the creation of a $5 million fund to address problem gambling.

Once ratified, the ballot measure would enable the state's professional sports teams and Missouri's 13 casinos to provide both in-person and online sports betting services.

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