Missouri sports betting hopes die in Senate

missouri statehouse
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Sports betting will not be legalized in Missouri in 2023 after the remaining bill died in Senate without being discussed, despite some hopes that long-lasting issues could be overcome. 

Rep. Dan Houx’s HB556 passed the Missouri House of Representatives back in March after a 118—35 bipartisan vote approved the bill. However, there was very little movement when the bill reached the Senate. 

HB556 was sent to the Senate and referred to the Appropriations Committee in early April, where it remained untouched until the legislative session ended last week. Consequently, the Show Me State will once again go without legalized sports betting despite being surrounded by live states. 

What was in HB556?

The bill – the third sports betting bill in Missouri this year – would have allowed licensed boat casinos in the state to partner with up to three online operators to power their interactive offerings.

From the sports teams’ perspective, HB556 would allow each franchise to partner with one operator, allowing for three official sports betting partners within the state. 

There would have been a 10% tax rate on any positive ‘adjusted gross receipts’ that an operator made should the bill have passed. Finally, free play or promotional credits would be allowed to be deducted from AGR from the first year, this would reduce to 25% each year until the fifth and subsequent year.

Why did Missouri sports betting fail in 2023? 

The process to bring sports betting to Missouri has been long and arduous, despite it having seven neighboring states that do offer sports betting in some form. The fact that the bill died in Senate is not new; HB2556 met the same fate in 2022.

There is a long-running and prohibitive context in Missouri, namely that Sen. Denny Hoskins is adamant that no sports betting bill would pass without the inclusion of VLTs, which HB556 does not.

Hoskins has filibustered and filed his own bills to ensure that VLTs are tied to sports betting and so far his attempts to thwart any legislation without VLTs have proven successful. 

There is certainly an appetite for sports betting in Missouri, though. There were multiple bills filed in the Show Me State in 2023 and HB556 garnered support from both sports teams and the casinos, but the legislative efforts simply did not meet that ambition. 

On the consumer side, GeoComply has noted that it has stopped nearly nine million betting attempts from Missouri during the 2022 NFL season. Those hopeful bettors must travel over state lines or wait until at least next year to get in on the sports betting train.