For next legislative session

Missouri lawmakers pre-file bills to legalize sports betting

Rep. Dan Shaul, one of Missouri lawmakers introducing sports betting legislation.
2021-12-02
United States
Reading time 1:40 min

At least three Missouri lawmakers pre-filed legislation on Wednesday that would support legal sports betting for residents. The move attempts to get the debate started early, before the state’s next legislative session, which begins at the start of 2022.

“We need to do something. People in Missouri want to be able to bet on sports,” said Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Jefferson County, according to KSDK. Given sports wagering is currently illegal in the state, it is believed Missouri gamblers are spending millions elsewhere.

The legalization of sports betting would imply a considerable amount of potential revenue for the state and, as stated by the Missouri Constitution, gaming money would go towards education or veterans’ homes. Bringing the market that now profits offshore sportsbooks and neighboring states out of the shade is the main argument behind the proposed legalization.

“The state of Missouri got $790 million from the NFL last week,” added Shaul. “Do you realize what we could be making on video lottery terminals and sports gaming? We could bring in $400 million per year in taxes.

Shaul is introducing his own plan, which parlays two tickets that may have longer odds. “We’ll take legalized betting and also the video lottery terminals and add those together and deal with both issues at one time,” he stated.

Lawmakers in the state had until December 1 to pre-file their bills in order to get them to be considered for the next legislative session, set for January 5, 2022. Pro teams in the state have already supported ballot initiatives to legalize sports wagering.

Sen. Denny Hoskins, a Republican that represents central and western Missouri and who had supported prior sportsbook bills, is confident the situation could change this time around. “Some of the issues that we’ve had in the past, as far as royalty fees and tax rate and things like that, we’ve been working on with many of the stakeholders involved,” he said.

While Shaul and Hoskins agree their plans may face pushback from people against gambling, both lawmakers argue it is time for Missouri to legalize the industry. “Right now we are in the wild wild west and people are doing their own thing,” said Shaul, according to the previously cited news source. “It’s time that we as legislators step up and do something.”

Senator Tony Luetkemeyer, Republican Majority Caucus Whip who represents Buchanan and Platte Counties north of Kansas City, also had plans to file a sports betting bill, although local media found him unavailable for comment prior to the December 1 deadline.

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