Why the chances of legalizing sports betting are low this special session

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Sports betting is once again under discussion at the Missouri Statehouse, but unless the governor expands his call for a special session, passing the legislation could take a long time.

The roadblock lies in Gov. Mike Parson’s call for a special session that concerns tax cuts and the reauthorization of tax credits for farmers. Rep. Dan Holly, R-Warrensburg, said he filed the sports betting legislation more to keep the conversation going.

“It’s definitely to keep it front and center to show Missourians that at least the House is trying to do everything we promised them to do,” Holly said Monday.

The House Emerging Issues Committee met Monday to discuss Holly’s bill after the General Assembly failed to approve the bill earlier this year in regular session.

“My neighbors are very upset that we didn’t do this in Missouri,” said Rep. Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City.

All of Missouri’s neighboring states have legalized sports betting. This month sports betting went live in Kansas days before the start of the NFL season.

“From September 1-16, 340,000 bets were attempted to be placed in Missouri that were unsuccessful,” Holly said. “The Chiefs game on Thursday night, there were 48,000 bets. Missouri loses revenue not only at the extreme of the tax, but we have people going to Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, and Arkansas.

Missourians aren’t the only ones who want to place bets on players and teams, pros do too.

“It’s what our fans want,” said Chris Roepe, a lobbyist for the St. Louis Cardinals. “We get yelled at because they think we shut them out when they come to Busch Stadium for a football game. It’s time to do it.

Representatives from the Royals, Chiefs, Kansas City Current, St. Louis City SC and Blues also testified in support.

According to the Kansas Lottery, in the first two weeks of sports betting in the Sunflower State, 2.4 million bets were placed. GeoComply said 16,000 people tried to place a bet in Missouri on the first day sports betting was legal in Kansas, but were blocked. Of those people, 60% were in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I think I’ve clearly expressed my contempt for the state west of us called Kansas based on my past life,” said Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall and former IAAF football player. University of Missouri. “But here’s one where we actually want to be like Kansas because they’ve adopted something that a lot of our constituents have told us about.”

Holly’s legislation, House Bill 4, is similar to what was before lawmakers this spring, allowing those 21 and older to place bets on college and professional teams, but would impose a 10% tax rate on sports betting, estimated at 16 million dollars for the state annually.

A big point of contention during the last session was what to do with video lottery games like slot machines. Lawmakers call them “grey” machines. These slot machines do not contain any consumer protection, and it is said that someone will win twice out of 100, but there is no law regulating this. There are an estimated 20,000 “grey” machines statewide, but Holly’s bill doesn’t include language to address that.

The Missouri Gaming Association represents the state’s 13 casinos. Relative to other states, Kansas sports betting tax rate is 10%, Illinois is 17%, Nebraska and Tennessee are 20%, and Arkansas is inclusive. between 13% and 20%.

“If we can do sports betting, that’s the investment we can make in our properties to drive people to those sports bets as well as other amenities that we have in our casinos and hotels,” Mike Winter said. , executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association.

The chances of laws being passed during this special session are not high.

“Sports betting is clearly beyond the call and does not pertain to Governor Parson’s topics in the call,” said Kelli Jones, Director of Communications for Governor Kelli Jones. “I don’t anticipate the appeal will be broadened to include sports betting.”

Parson’s special session call is to cut the state income tax rate from 5.3% to 4.8% and reauthorize tax credits for farmers for at least six years .

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, approximately 92,000 Missourians currently struggle with problem gambling, ranking Missouri 33rd out of 50 states. Last year, there were 4,000 calls and texts to the National Problem Gambling Hotline in Missouri.

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