Missouri Sports Betting Bill Goes To Full Senate

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The Missouri Senate could vote as early as today to allow sports betting at riverboat casinos and via casino-tethered online sportsbooks, with a possible 2021 launch. 

All of this would happen without a referendum per a proposed Senate substitute to Senate Bill 98, sponsored by Sen. Denny Hoskins. The substitute — which could be adopted by the Senate today, as the earliest — is not linked to a referendum, unlike the most recent committee substitute to the bill. 

A referendum requirement would have pushed a Missouri sports betting launch into 2023. 

Hoskins has worked for four years to bring sportsbooks to Missouri — a state now almost surrounded by legal sports betting states. 

“So far 20 states have legalized sportsbooks and an additional six more are set to come online in 2021,” Hoskins said in his Monday floor speech on SB 98. “If Missouri had legalized sportsbook, it would have allowed us to bet on the (Kansas City) Chiefs in the Super Bowl this year.” 

“This is something — whether it’s video lottery terminals, whether it’s sportsbook – that is happening across the state today, and I ask for the body’s consideration to regulate and legalize gaming in the State of Missouri,” Hoskins added. 

Details On SB 98, To Date

Sports wagering provisions in SB 98 is the piece de resistance of this expanded gaming legislation that would also allow operation of up to 12,500 video lottery game terminals and peer-to-peer fantasy sports contests in the Show-Me State. 

The proposed substitute spells out in detail how retail and online sports betting in Missouri would work.

Here are the highlights: 

  • Sports betting would be operated through a licensed facility (a riverboat casino), either in-person or online through a licensed sports wagering platform to persons physically located in Missouri. 
  • Licensed casinos could offer sports betting in lounge-type areas and in other casino properties, such as hotels and restaurants, through limited mobile gaming systems. Sports betting kiosks are a type of limited mobile gaming system. 
  • Licensed casinos could contract with up to three individually branded sports betting platforms. An “interactive sports wagering platform license” would have to be issued by the state before a platform could run sportsbooks on a casino’s behalf. 
  • Initial application fee for riverboat casinos to be licensed is $25,000. 
  • The initial application fee for a platform provider would be $25,000, with an annual renewal fee of $50,000. 
  • Sports bets would be taxed at 21% of the adjusted gross sports wagering receipts, with revenues deposited in a state education fund. 
  • Data used to determine outcomes for placed tier one and tier two bets could come from data sources other than official sports leagues. 
  • Minimum gambling age? 21. 

The betting field would be pretty wide open, too, with the exception of prop bets on individual collegiate athletes participating in single games or matches in which an in-state team is participating. Those would still be illegal, as would bets on games or athletic events involving in-state high school teams and individual players. 

The Revenue View

The Missouri Gaming Commission has estimated that 70 percent or more of the state’s draw from legalized sports betting could come from online sportsbooks. Hoskins told the Senate yesterday that $8 million to $20 million a year would come from taxes on sportsbooks under SB 98. 

SB 98 overall could bring in $175 million in annual state revenue at full implementation.

What’s Next

SB 98 as amended will be printed and given a third reading on the Senate floor, a procedural requirement for passage. That could happen as part of Senate floor action this afternoon. 

Should it pass Senate muster, SB 98 will advance to the House for consideration. The 2021 Regular Session of the Missouri General Assembly ends on May 14. 

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Writer and Contributor
Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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