“In January, we’re going to resubmit the bill and get going,” said Missouri Assemblyman Dan Houx.
Missourians might well be betting on NFL and MLB games today if there hadn’t been a state senator whose filibuster would have allowed a Sports betting law dies in May after the end of the ordinary legislative period of the state.
Now Missouri is back on track to become the 37th jurisdiction to have legal sports betting in the US. It plans to revive a version of the original bill in January when the state legislature reconvenes and tries to rectify the previous failed attempt to bring both retail and online sports betting into the Show Me State.
Rep. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg, was reinstated last week house bill 4 at a special committee hearing of the state parliament. This laid the groundwork for Houx and other Missouri lawmakers to resubmit the bill at the earliest opportunity, during the next regular session of the Missouri Legislature, which begins in January 2023.
Under pressure from Gov. Mike Parson, the committee decided not to vote on HB 4th, but the bill’s supporter said it was now inevitable that the legislature would pass early in the new year.
“In January, we’re going to resubmit the bill and get started with that,” Houx said.
Sports betting represents a “priority” for the next legislature
Following the launch of sports betting in neighboring Kansas on Sept. 1, Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, tweeted that he was committed to getting the bill to a vote as soon as possible next year .
— Caleb Rowden (@calebrowden) September 2, 2022
in the Comments made to a Fox TV affiliate in St. LouisSenate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, noted that he completely agrees with the faction leader as “these chambers look like fools for not making it”.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Rizzo said. “I have friends who go to Kansas every weekend. They get up early, they go to Kansas, they make their bets and come back to watch the football game.”
Since Kansas went live, there have been 340,000 blocked attempts by Missourians to access sportsbook in Kansas, 57% of which were from Kansas City, according to Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall.
Rizzo also noted that Missourians can gamble at a casino and potentially “lose their life savings” — but can’t bet on the state’s local NFL team.
“I hope it gets done,” added Rizzo. “I hope Patrick Mahomes is the MVP and I hope the Chiefs win the Super Bowl and I can bet on it.”
Lawmakers on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle said the failure to enact sports betting legislation in April as intended upset taxpayers — and the plan is to fix that problem.
“My neighbors are very upset that we didn’t get that done in Missouri,” said Rep. Ashley Aune, a member of the Democratic House of Representatives representing District 14 of Kansas City.
Newly elected House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, also told Fox 2 that the sports betting bill should already be in place.
Pro sports teams and major sportsbooks pushed their arguments
Representatives from the association representing casinos, as well as representatives from the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Current were all present at the hearing to express their support for the measure.
“We see that this is what our fans want,” a Cardinals representative told lawmakers at the committee hearing. “We get yelled at because they think we’re geofencing them out.”
Meanwhile, Sean Ostrow, spokesman for the Sports Betting Alliance, which represents Bally Bet, BetMGM, Fanatics, FanDuel and DraftKings, reminded state legislators of the “enormous appetite for sports” in the Midwest and that they anticipate there will be in Missouri “not different”.
Last Monday, Houx told the committee that the bill is essentially the same as the one passed by the House of Representatives (but not the Senate) earlier this year: it allows both retail and mobile betting, although the tax rate increases from 8% has increased by 10%.
In March, two sports betting bills — HB 2502 and HB 2556 — arrived in the Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Both bills died in the Senate without ever getting to a vote due to a four-hour filibuster by Senator Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) that forced Senate Pro Tempore President Dave Schatz (R-St. Louis) to adjourn the session out of desperation.
Hoskins, despite his general support for legalized sports betting, objected to the fact that the House bills contained no provision to also legalize the approximately 20,000 video gaming terminals (VGTs) that operate as a gray market in Missouri.
Hoskins tried to allow VGTs in restaurants, bars, convenience stores and fraternities, complaining that sports betting had pushed the House of Representatives to remove VGTs from legislation.
Ironically, Hoskins finally agreed to drop his objections to the sports betting laws in May – but by then it was too late to do anything about it.