Missouri’s combination VLT/sports betting bill voted down in committee

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Missouri Sen. Denny Hoskins‘ quest to bring video lottery terminals (VLTs) to the state suffered a setback on Thursday. The Hoskins-authored SB1 was voted down by the Senate Appropriations Committee while Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer’s sports betting bill, SB30, advanced to the Senate floor.

Hoskins has vowed that he will obstruct the path for legalized sports betting in Missouri if his fellow lawmakers did not support VLT legislation. At a committee hearing earlier this week, the supporters of SB1 were clearly divided between small businesses seeking VLTs to boost bottom lines and state pro teams who supported the bill but are agnostic on the VLT piece of the bill.

After SB30 passed, Hoskins took to the Senate floor for roughly an hour to protest the exclusion of VLTs. Hoskins said there was hypocrisy at play that sports betting supporters argue the state needs to shut down the illegal betting market but won’t do the same for gray machines.

“They want to get rid of the illegal sports betting by legalizing it but they don’t want to get rid of the unregulated video lottery terminals by legalizing video lottery terminals. I mean, it’s hilarious sometimes when they make that argument,” he said.

He also admitted that he is being an obstructionist but also noted that being a squeaky wheel seemed to be the only way to help his constituents. He echoed the sentiment in a Twitter post Thursday afternoon:

Meanwhile, over in the House, the sports bettings bills HB556 and HB581 both advanced out of the Emerging Issues Committee after a successful hearing last week. While the three pieces of betting legislation are all solo sports betting bills, they are not identical.

Moreover, while Hoskins’ bill did not advance, that does not mean the VLT issue is settled. There was no vote on Sen, Karla May‘s VLT-only bill yet. Plus, Hoskins has warned he will filibuster sports betting much like he did last year unless VLTs are included.