Following Secretary of State John Ashcroft's approval of eight motions to secure a ballot ahead of the 2024 election cycle, Missouri's sports teams are attempting to legalize sports betting. The proposal would modify the Missouri constitution, necessitating a public vote during the November 2024 election. The Missouri Gaming Commission would grant licenses under the proposed legislation to cellphone operators, pro sports teams, gambling boats, and internet operators. Operators would pay a 10% tax, with the proceeds going toward treatment and education related to gambling. The eight plans vary significantly in other areas, but they all call for a tax rate of ten percent to be utilized as funding for the state's Compulsive Gambling Prevention Fund.
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The Missouri Pro Sports Betting Coalition—which includes the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Current, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and St. Louis SC—filed the motions in an effort to finally legalize sports betting in the Show Me state. The Missouri Pro Sports Coalition needs to gather at least 170,000 signatures on a petition in order to be included on the final ballot for the election scheduled for November 5th, even if the Secretary of State has approved these proposals. This is so that a proposition can be placed on the ballot, which requires the backing of five percent of registered voters in six of the state's eight Congressional districts.
This is an attempt to legalize sports betting in Missouri again, as the previous two failed due to disagreements on the place of VLT games inside the framework. Senator Denny Hoskins has made it clear time and time again that if his fellow legislators did not support VLT legislation, he would block the route for legalizing sports betting in Missouri. Hoskins protested the absence of VLTs in one of the three sports betting legislation from the previous year's discussion for more than an hour. "They want to legalize sports betting in order to eradicate illegal activity, but they do not want to legalize unregulated video lottery terminals." he said.
The primary proponent of sports betting in Missouri is state representative Dan Houx, a Republican from Warrensburg. It would be his third consecutive year he is sponsoring a bill to legalize sports betting; the previous two years, fellow Republican Denny Hoskins rejected the bill in the Missouri Senate. "You never know," Houx remarked to Missourinet. "With any bill, obstacles may occasionally end up, so to speak, disappearing. Therefore, it's possible that he will reconsider, particularly in light of the several ballot initiatives that have been put forth.”
In fact, twelve different initiative petitions have been certified for distribution with the goal of incorporating sports betting into the Missouri Constitution. Houx said he will back a ballot initiative the next year if he is unable to get his law passed.
"I have no problem voting on it because I've carried the bill in the past if we can't get it done and the ballot initiative is in front of me come August or November," he stated. "If, in the end, a ballot initiative is what needs to be done, then I will support it."
Sports betting was approved by the Missouri House twice in a row, but Hoskins, who demands that it be combined with video slot machine regulation, has prevented it from being approved in the Senate.