The Missouri legislature now has five sports betting proposals to consider in the new session starting January 13. Democratic Missouri state Rep. Wes Rogers’ pre-filed sports betting bill joins four pre-filed by Senate Republicans, including one that also would legalize video lottery terminals. Lawmakers also have pre-filed other bills that would allow riverboat casinos to operate on land, plus two that address illegal gambling.
Last year, similar bills proposed to allow the state’s 13 casinos to operate retail and online sportsbooks advanced out of committee before the Covid-19 pandemic cut short the legislative session. Now, with the prospects of declining tax revenue and rising health care costs, legislators hope expanded gaming can partially fill the state budget that was cut by about half a billion dollars in 2020.
In the House, Rogers’ bill would allow online and retail sports betting, regulated by the Missouri Gaming Commission. Three skins would be allowed per casino for a total of 39. The sports betting license application fee would be $25,000 with a $10,000 annual administration fee and $5,000 license renewal fee every five years. Adjusted gross revenue would be taxed at 6 percent. College prop bets would be allowed but pro leagues may request to limit, restrict or prohibit bets placed on their events and/or individual player prop bets. League royalty fees are not included.
Compared to the four Senate bills, Rogers’ proposes lower gross gaming revenue taxes avoids pro league royalties. Rogers’ proposal shares several elements with Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden’s, which has slightly higher taxes at 6.75 percent and an application fee of $50,000 plus an annual administration fee of $20,000 and $10,000 license renewal every five years.
State Senator Denny Hoskins filed two of the four Senate sports betting bills; one would legalize only sports betting and another also would allow video lottery terminals. Hoskins, who has served in the Missouri House from 2009 through 2017, has introduced bills to legalize VLTs in his last five years in the Senate.
Additionally, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz and state Senator Dan Hegeman filed separate bills restricting illegal gambling, specifically targeting the hundreds of illegal video terminals currently in operation statewide. Lawmakers could decide to legalize and regulate the machines, or maintain the ban on them and crack down on violators.