Missouri Sports Teams Seek Approval for Sports Betting Ballot

The anticipated launch of sports betting in Missouri is facing a major obstacle, as supporters of video lottery games are requesting the inclusion of video lottery machines in the sports betting bill. This has led to a deadlock in the progress of the bill, with Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden commenting, “Both sides are pretty entrenched.”

The proposed amendments to the bill, filed in April 2023, would make six sports teams, 13 land-based casino operators, and two online sports wagering platforms eligible for a sports gambling license. The bill would allow for online and in-person betting, with an estimated annual gross gaming revenue of $28.9 million, generating tax revenues of 10 percent of the net gaming revenue. Additionally, the proposed bill includes a $5 million injection into the problem gaming fund, with the remaining revenue allocated to public education programs.

The campaign for the bill has been funded by leading online sports betting operators FanDuel and DraftKings, with contributions of $250,000 each. The coalition includes sports teams such as the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis CITY SC, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, and the Kansas City Current. To progress the campaign, the organization needs to gather between 171,592 and 188,537 signatures by May 8, 2024, to make it onto the ballot.

The Missouri sports wagering market is expected to reach around $1.8 billion, following in the footsteps of the Missouri Lottery and land-based casinos. This estimate is based on the neighboring state of Kansas, which recorded a $1.85 billion handle in the first year of sports betting. The campaigners argue that legalized sports wagering would help regulate a black market in the state, stating that Missourians place roughly $2 billion a year in bets using offshore gaming websites or by driving to neighboring states to place wagers.