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Missouri Making One Final Sports Betting Push

The chances of a legal sports betting bill passing in the state of Missouri are slim, but those chances aren’t completely dead yet. Senator Denny Hoskins has continued to kill any chances of sports betting in the state, despite initially supporting the measure.

The House of Representatives gave it one last chance earlier this week as they included sports betting through an amendment on an unrelated bill. Ironically, the bill that was amended to include sports betting was actually authored by Hoskins.

This will put Hoskins in a bit of a bind when the bill reaches the Senate as he could be forced to vote down his own bill. The Senate would still have a chance to amend the bill to remove sports betting, but the legislative session is set to end on Friday.

A 15% tax rate is set on the revenue generated from sports betting, and there would be relatively cheap licensing fees. These are not the issues that tend to bring about the debates between lawmakers, but they would ultimately be important if Missouri was to legalize the industry.

The Missouri Gaming Association has been urging lawmakers to get a deal done, and they are pleased with the most recent effort. This will have to be a quick decision that is made by Hoskins and the rest of the Senate, but the House has put the pressure on.

All About the VLTs

Hoskins has continued to shoot down any sports betting legislation that is not tied to video lottery terminals or VLTs. These machines are not currently legal or regulated in the state of Missouri, but can still be found in areas throughout the state.

Hoskins wants to see them become legal, and he has pointed to Illinois as a model of how well these work. It doesn’t appear that Hoskins has much support in getting the VLTs legalized, but he has urged Senators to shoot down sports betting unless that is the case.

J&J Ventures is a company that supplies these VLTs to businesses in Illinois, and that company has also donated to Hoskins campaign efforts. At this point it doesn’t look as if one industry will be legal without the other even though they don’t really go together in any way.

Pro Teams Could Take Different Route

There are a number of professional sports teams in the state of Missouri, and those franchises are starting to grow frustrated. Those teams could benefit greatly from the legalization of sports betting, and they could be looking to take a different route to get this industry up and running.

St. Louis Cardinals president Bill DeWitt has been outspoken about his frustrations and hinted that he could be looking to get a voter initiative placed on the ballot. This couldn’t happen until 2024 at the earliest, but there is reason to believe that residents want sports betting.

Professional teams in the state could get registered voters to sign a petition at home games, and they would have the backing of major sports betting operators. If lawmakers are unable to get a bill passed by Friday then the pro teams might not have a choice.

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