tate Senator for Missouri, Denny Hoskins (R-warrensburg), who chairs the State Economic Development Committee, is planning to pre-file legislation in December for Video Lottery Terminals to be taxed and regulated in 2022, predicting it would raise millions of dollars for education.
In an interview with Missourinet earlier this month, Hoskins spoke about his travel to Chicago for the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States conference, where slot machines were a discussed topic.
“What I would like to do is to make sure they are regulated and taxed”, he said. “To make sure that if it says you’re going to win one out of every 50 times that, in fact, that machine is being checked to make sure that you, as the customer, are actually going to win one out of every 50 times, and the machine is just taking your money and never issuing you a winning ticket”, he said.
Hoskins predicted that his legislation would raise about $250 million annually for K-12 education and for veteran homes.
Of the estimated 14,000 video lottery machines that are currently operating in Missouri, Hoskins acknowledged that “many of these machines are being litigated in court to see if they are legal”. This comes after a state judge ruled that two “no chance” slot machines found at a Parkville convenience store violated state gambling laws. That case could end up at the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City.
“I look forward to the court’s decision. Regardless, I do think they need to be regulated and taxed appropriately: a 32% tax going to the state and 4% tax going to the local government”, Hoskins said.
However, there is opposition to the proposal from Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan), who described the alleged illegal Missouri slot machines as “a tax on most poor people”, and estimates there are about 20,000 of these machines in the state.
“When you also think about some of these places that could have separate enclosed rooms with up to 5 video lottery terminals whether it’s restaurants, in bars or truck stops, convenience stores or things like that, it could really be a boost to those small-business owners. To make sure that they could receive that extra revenue”, Hoskins pointed out, analyzing the aftermath of the pandemic and the way it has affected these businesses.
In the same interview, the Senator also said that he supports an all-inclusive gaming agenda in 2022, which includes sports wagering, esports and horse racing.
According to the interview, Hoskins plans to pre-file Sportsbook legislation in December, alleging that more than 30 other states offer a version of sports wagering. He predicts sportsbooks would raise about $20 million annually for the state.
“To bet legally you have to drive to Illinois”, he underscored. “The only other way to bet from Missouri is to bet illegally using an off-shore betting app. And most certainly I discourage anyone from doing that”.
Horse racing was also addressed during the interview. “I would love to see horse racing here in Missouri”, he assured. “Several other states do have horse racing in their state. And what they’ve done is they’ve combined horse racing with video lottery terminals with Sportsbook and things like that”.
He also emphasized the importance of emerging gaming issues, as he plans to file legislation that includes an esports provision.
“When you talk about esports, we’re talking about players, playing whether it’s Madden football, whether it’s Halo, whether it’s Fortnite. And there are tournaments all over the United States as well as all over the world with this going on,” said Hoskins.
“Some states have even built esports stadiums in order to host many of these game tournaments. And so, I could see that being a huge industry coming into the state of Missouri,” the Senator noted.
Pre-filing of bills for Missouri’s 2022 legislative session will begin on December 1 in Jefferson City.