Missouri Considers Legal Sports Gambling, but When Will It Pass?
Lawmakers in the state of Missouri are considering legalizing sports betting as there are currently four bills working their way through the legislature. One of them, HB 119, has garnered the most support as it would allow for betting on pro or college sports and allow mobile sports betting using an app. These bills would also allow for sports betting on riverboat casinos in Missouri.
Since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May last year, ending a 26-year old ban on sports betting outside of Nevada, Missouri has been working to get gambling away from being exclusive to riverboats and towards online and mobile betting due to the potential revenue. The bills are anticipated to bring in up to $90 million in revenue to the state. State leaders will also need to figure out who governs legal sports betting in Missouri.
Support for House Bill 119
The St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball have thrown in their support of House Bill 119, which “authorizes the Missouri Gaming Commission to implement regulations governing sports wagering, including standards for the conduct of sports wagering and holders of certificates for sports wagering.”
Sponsored by Representative Cody Smith (R-Carthage), the bill will protect baseball and its fans and will legalize mobile betting. It also calls for a fee of one percent to go to the NCAA and the professional leagues.
Cardinal’s President Bill DeWitt III issued a statement regarding HB 119:
“Legalized sports betting legislation in Missouri must protect the game of baseball and its fans from the risks of corruption associated with sports betting. HB 119 contains the right balance of protection and regulations to accomplish that goal. While ensuring that Missouri creates a safe and ultimately successful sports betting market. For these reasons, it has our support.”
Other supporters include the owner of the Royals, PGA tour and the NBA. Missouri also has several big time college teams that would be affected if any of the bills succeed in making it to the desk of the governor for approval. But, with a fee to be given to the NCAA, there’s not much concern for opposition from the collegiate programs.
Opposition to Sports Betting
Not everyone is supportive of expanding gambling in the state. The National Council on Problem Gambling said recently in communication with KCTV 5 News that Missouri already has problem gamblers who aren’t getting the help they need, and adding sports gambling via apps or in person at casinos isn’t going to make the problem any better:
“It is likely that the expansion of legalized gambling in Missouri will likely increase gambling participating and simultaneously problems.”
When Will Sports Betting Be Legal in Missouri?
With the way things are going in the state, 2020 would be the soonest that things are approved and legal sports betting is rolled out. I expect that state leaders, casinos and other partiers will argue over the 1% fee being given to pro teams and NCAA schools since no other state is doing this. Additionally, there will be some issues over who runs the sports betting in the state, fees, taxes and more. Smart money is on the fact that sports betting won’t be legalized in Missouri until next year.
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