Two Missouri sports betting bills kick off 2024 legislative session

Missouri state capitol
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Efforts to legalize sports betting in 2024 are already underway in Missouri as two separate bills from familiar names have been filed in the state legislature.

Sen. Tony Leutkemeyer has filed SB852, a bill to legalize sports betting in Missouri to mark his second consecutive effort after his attempt died in the Senate in 2023. 

SB852 would allow the state’s riverboat casinos to partner with up to three online sports betting operators. Additionally, the bill would allow the state’s professional sports teams to partner with one online sportsbook each. 

Any operators that wish to apply for a license would be subject to a $100,000 fee and renewal fees every four years. 

The bill would allow players aged 21 and over to bet on professional sports including NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and more, with the official catalog finalized by the Missouri Gaming Commission should the bill make it into law. 

Events that explicitly will not make it onto the catalog, however, are elementary and school athletic events, which would remain illegal under the provisions of the bill. Moreover, there will be no prop betting on college sports or college sports betting when a game features a team from Missouri. 

Operators will be taxed at 12% of their GGR under the bill’s proposals, but there are allowances for promo credit deductions for a set period of time. 

The bill states for the first year 100% of promotional credits will be deducted and this will reduce by 25% each year until the fifth year, when there will be no deductions.

The second bill was filed by Sen. Denny Hoskins, who is an ardent supporter of legalizing video lottery terminals. He has filed language on sports betting within SB824, but the primary aim of the bill is to legalize VLTs. 

Also named the “Honoring Missouri Veterans and Supporting Missouri Education Act”, SB824 would allow establishments across Missouri to host VLT, taking away the power of the black market. 

However, there is sports betting language in the bill, which is similar but not identical to SB852. 

The tax rate is slightly lower, offering operators a 10% tax rate on GGR but measures for promotional credit deductions are also included. 

The fragmentation of efforts to get legislation through in Missouri derailed hopes of legalisation in 2023 and Sen. Hosker’s insistence that VLT language must be included has proven particularly prohibitive. 

Hoskins has been known to filibuster any bill that would legalize sports betting without VLT language for several hours, and he has vowed to prevent any such bill from passing. 

In 2023, hopes of sports betting legalization in Missouri died when Rep. Dan Houx’s House bill was not discussed in the Senate and the other two bill’s died in Committee.

A similar fate was reached in 2022 when HB2556 died in the Senate too.

There is a particular appetite for sports betting from the state’s sports teams, as the Missouri Pro Sports Betting Coalition has filed four petitions to get wagering on the ballot for November’s elections. 

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