The Missouri legislature probably feels like a kid whose parent continually says, “No!”
Lawmakers are in a special session right now to discuss cutting state income taxes. While several of them want Gov. Mike Parson to add sports betting to the special session, the governor’s spokesperson, Kelli Jones, said that’s a no-go.
“Sports betting is clearly beyond the call and does not relate to Governor Parson’s topics in the call,” Jones told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I do not anticipate sports betting being a part of special session.”
The governor’s hard line against sports wagering discussions is a blow to betting proponents who hoped to get the bill into the special session. Jones said the governor believes the issue should be taken up in the spring legislative session.
Sports betting at a standstill as Kansas booms
There seemed to be hope among lawmakers that sports betting would make its way into the special session. A House panel on emerging issues discussed the bill on Monday, then postponed further action on the bill. That pause on action is likely due to the governor’s desire to postpone legal sports betting movement until the spring.
In the meantime, lawmakers and Missourians are left to watch Kansas’ sports betting market grow and mature. The neighboring state launched legalized sports wagering earlier this month. Bettors can place wagers on their phones or in-person at several locations throughout the Sunflower State.
The launch gave Missouri legislators a glimpse at what could be for their state, not only because of the revenue generated by their rival, but because of another key metric: how many people tried to use Kansas betting apps from Missouri.
In the first few hours of the launch, more than 16,000 people in Missouri tried to open Kansas sports betting apps. Later reports found that more than 100,000 people in Missouri tried to open apps and place bets one week after the launch. Geolocation technology identified where the players were and prevented them from actually opening a Kansas app and placing a bet.
Sports wagering bill in Missouri has broad support
The bill in the House right now is HB4. Earlier this week, the House’s emerging issues committee allowed public comment on the bill. Among the entities that support the bill include:
St. Louis Blues
Kansas City Royals
NHL Players Association
NBA Players Association
NFL Players Association
MLB Players Association
St. Louis Cardinals
Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Key provisions in the legislation include a 10% tax on gross gaming revenue from operators and an initial application fee of up to $100,000 for sportsbooks on gambling boats and up to $150,000 for mobile operators.
Renewal fees are up to $50,000 and $125,000, respectively. Each year, $500,000 of the fees and tax revenue the state receives will be donated to a compulsive gambling fund.