On Thursday evening, the Missouri State Senate voted to adjourn its 2022 session a day early without passing a sports betting bill, therefore ending the hope of legalizing sports gaming this year.
House Bill 2502 was first introduced in January by Rep. Dan Houx (R-Warrensburg) and was slated to have a 10% tax for the government in its initial stages -comparably lower than the 21% cut on gaming in the state-; while House Bill 2556 made provisions to the bill and was joined with 2502.
The legislation went through the House without much opposition but began facing adjustments in the Senate, leading to more debate. It also faced competition from a different proposal filed by Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), which sought to increase the tax rate to 21%.
Hoskins has been described as filibustering HB 2502 on the Senate floor through a protracted debate, reports KOMU, as he did not like that the legislation the House passed did not include a provision to regulate video gaming terminals (VLTs), are which are currently illegal in the state.
While the Missouri Constitution called for Friday to be the final day of the session to act on bills, however, the upper chamber ended its 2022 session early. According to local media reports, it was due to a contentious vote on a congressional redistricting plan. Said provision also states that any bill “remaining on the calendar” as of 6 pm CT on the first Friday after the second Monday in May is automatically tabled for the rest of the session.
On Thursday afternoon, Hoskins recurred to social media to blame the state’s casinos for sports betting not passing the session. He added that Majority Caucus Chairman Dan Hegeman (R-Cosby), would not allow a vote unless all sides were in consensus.
"It's interesting with all of the major sports or professional sports teams in the state in support of the bill, that they did not have a little more success in lobbying the Senate to move the bill forward," said Mike Leara, chair of the Missouri Gaming Commission, according to the cited source.
We offered casinos 3 different bills on Sportsbook. The last offer was on 5/10/22 & all the pro sports teams (Chiefs,Royals,etc), pro player orgs (MLBPA,NFLPA), mobile platforms (Fan Duel,Draft Kings) agreed to the deal. Unfortunately, the casinos said NO & the bill died. #moleg— Senator Denny Hoskins, CPA (@DLHoskins) May 12, 2022
House Bill 2502 would have allowed both brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and online sports betting apps to operate in Missouri. Except for a $500,000 annual allotment to a state-run problem gambling fund, the tax proceeds would have been earmarked for education funding.
The bill would have opened up to 39 mobile sportsbook licenses for the state’s 13 casinos -which would also have been able to launch land-based operations- and six professional teams. According to estimates by the Missouri Gaming Commission, projections initially began at about $9 million per year, "a conservative number."
State Sen. Denny Hoskins
With Kansas’ bill becoming law last week Tuesday, Missouri is now surrounded by sports betting states. Six of the eight bordering states to Missouri will have legalized sports gambling soon or already have it in place, including Kansas and Nebraska, which have passed legislation but have yet to enact regulations.
Kentucky, where a sports betting bill died on the final day of its legislative session last month, and Oklahoma are the only states bordering Missouri that do not allow sportsbooks. Sports gaming enthusiasts in the Show Me State will now have to wait for next year for another chance at joining those jurisdictions with a legal market.