Monday, May 6, 2024
Missouri Senate still no agreement on sports betting.

Missouri Senate still no agreement on sports betting.

Missouri Senate Fails to Pass Sports Betting Bill Again Due to Impasse on Video Lottery Machines

The Missouri Senate has once again failed to pass a bill authorizing sports betting due to an impasse on video lottery machines. This is the second year in a row that the Senate has been unable to push through a bill legalizing sports betting, with the House of Representatives having already approved it. The continuing opposition is led by a group of senators who insist that any bill legalizing sports betting should also legalize video lottery machines.

Senator Tony Luetkemeyer, the sponsor of the sports wagering bill, expressed his disappointment at the situation. Despite prevailing in the vote against video lottery machines, he knows it will not be enough to assuage opponents of the sports betting bill. He hopes that ongoing conversations will result in a resolution.

Senator Denny Hoskins, who sponsored a bill authorizing both forms of gambling, led the opposition to Luetkemeyer’s sports betting bill. Hoskins argued that video lottery terminals should also be legalized to keep unregulated machines in bars, truck stops, and convenience stores from crowding out the marketplace. He offered an amendment to allow up to three video lottery machines in each licensed bar, truck stop, or fraternal hall, but it failed to pass.

The sports betting bill would allow licensed casinos to offer customers three betting platforms, with a limit of six per casino company. Each of the major league sports teams could contract with a platform to offer branded wagering. Anyone over 21 would be able to download a sports wagering application on their phone and place bets from anywhere within the state.

The Senate made significant changes to the bill’s revenue split, with an amendment increasing the tax rate from 10% to 15%.¬†Another amendment increased the boarding fee at casinos from $2 to $4 and imposed the fee on the use of remote wagering applications.

The conflict between supporters of sports betting and those who want to allow video lottery machines has prevented any bill from passing for several legislative sessions. Casinos and major professional sports teams have worked together to pass a bill that splits the market, while video lottery machine marketers argue that any bill should focus on maximizing revenue for the state rather than the private sector.

Missouri is under pressure to legalize sports betting to keep up with surrounding states. Only Oklahoma among the eight states surrounding Missouri has not authorized sports wagering. More than 200,000 Missourians already have sports betting accounts but have to travel to neighboring states to place bets.

Lawmakers have prioritized passing a bill that satisfies this market, but Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden is “less concerned about what the content at the end is than some folks.” Despite trying to add XFL and Major League Rugby teams to the list of professional sports franchises authorized to sponsor betting platforms, legislator Nick Schroer emphasized that passing any form of the bill is important.

The debate between video lottery machines and sports betting continues, and the fate of both remains uncertain.


About Jonty Jackson

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