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Missouri Sports Betting Bill Clears First Hurdle In House

two St. Louis Cardinals players jumping in the air for a high five

Four weeks ago, we reported on over 250,000 illegal bets made on Super Bowl 57 from inside the state of Missouri and its potential impact on the legalization of domestic sportsbooks.

MO lawmakers are now one step closer to making sports betting legal as a bill made it through the House on Monday.

The bill would set the minimum age for legal sports betting in Missouri at 21 years old. Both in-person sportsbooks and mobile sports betting apps will be a part of the equation.

As currently written, the bill would enforce the collection of 10% of the total sports betting revenue and place it in the general education fund, with some taxes set aside for problem gaming initiatives.

Betting on high school sports will be prohibited under these guidelines. Prop bets for college athletes are also forbidden. The logic is to prevent the temptation of college players to accept a bribe to shave points or other statistics.

Estimates indicate that MO could collect upwards of $20 million in sports betting revenue each year. That would result in at least $2 million in tax collections annually.

These estimates seem low considering mobile options are included. Take Tennessee as an example. They’ve got a population of roughly 7 million and they collected over $68 million in taxes in 2022 according to sports betting revenue reports.

Roughly 6.2 million people reside in Missouri.

“I hear from people every day when I’m out and about why hasn’t Missouri [made sports betting legal] yet and quite frankly, we’re starting to look silly…”

Missouri House Representative Phil Christofanelli (St. Peters – R)

Another round of approval will occur over the next few days which will send the bill to the Senate if voted on favorably.

An item of contention that could slow things down in the Senate is the presence of video lottery machines inside bars, restaurants, and convenience stores.

Senators want VLM regulation included in the sports betting bill. The House is not opposed to regulating VLMs but prefers the bill be separate from the one created for domestic sportsbooks.

“I do think that this ship has sailed, and the rest of the country is doing this… Everyone in Missouri is frankly already doing it…”

Missouri House Representative Peter Merideth (St. Louis – D)

One remaining concern, should this bill pass, would be 18 to 20-year-old sports bettors traveling across the border into Tennessee to use their mobile sportsbooks.

Tennessee sports betting is available to gamblers aged 18 or older. Bettors in MO can cross the border, download a domestic TN sportsbook app, and place a wager on a pro or college game.

Border hopping to place a wager in another state is legal. Think of it like traveling to Las Vegas and betting on sports there. There is no legal sports betting state that requires citizenship to partake.

Another side effect of MO’s gambling age requirement of 21 is that it still gives offshore sportsbooks an edge over domestic options in the state. Many international sports betting sites allow members to join at 18, granting them three years of exclusivity in the region.

FOX 2 Now St. Louis, Missouri Independent, St. Louis Post Dispatch

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