Missouri sports teams file petitions for sportsbook voter referendum

St Louis Cardinals mascot
Image: Shutterstock / Gino Santa Maria

One group is taking action after, once again, the Missouri legislature failed to pass a sports betting bill. According to local Missouri news outlet KCTV5, the Missouri Pro Sports Betting Coalition has filed four petitions to get wagering on the ballot. The group is comprised of the pro sports teams in the states.

The petition seeks to revise the Missouri constitution to allow for sports betting and to launch no later than Dec. 25, 2025.

The details of the position include online and in-person wagering at both casinos and sporting venues with a capacity of at least 11,500 people. Each operator would be granted one online and one retail license. There would also be four mobile-only licenses available.

Mobile licensing would be a relatively low $500,000 for a five-year online license and the tax rate would also be relatively low, at just 10%. Proceeds from the tax revenue would go to fund education. The licensing fees will go towards the state’s Compulsive Gambling Prevention Fund.

The definition of sports betting explicitly eliminates daily fantasy sports-style contests from the definition of sports betting, as the state has already explicitly legalized DFS.

The next step for the petitions is a public comment period where Missouri residents can offer feedback to the Secretary of State for 15 days.

From there, there is still a long journey to actually make the ballot, let alone pass into law. The state’s attorney general needs to approve the petitions as well as draft ballot summary language, which they must do within 23 days of the petition being approved. Concurrently, the state auditor’s office will prepare a fiscal note on the proposal.

Upon reviewing the ballot language and the fiscal note, the Secretary of State will approve or deny the petition. From that point, sports betting supporters can start circulating the petition for signatures. They will need to obtain signatures from five percent of registered voters in six of eight Congressional districts in the state.

If they manage to do that and get the results certified, it can get on the ballot for the 2024 election on Nov. 5.

It’s a long road, but given the objections in the legislature to legalize sports betting, this might be the easiest path forward for the state to start taking wagers.