Missouri Sports Betting Initiatives Pushed by Pro Teams
Four Missouri-based professional sports teams are filing a series of initiatives on statewide ballots to legalize sports betting in the Show Me State.
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A total of nine initiatives have been filed by the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis City Soccer Club and Kansas City Royals, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The goal of the initiatives is to legalize wagering in the state, allowing Missouri to join the 29 states and District of Columbia that have already taken such a step, along with three others (Maryland, Nebraska, and Wisconsin) that have legalized wagering but have not launched operations.
Each of the initiatives are in the public comment stage and have not yet been circulated for signatures, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Revenues from taxes on sports betting transactions would benefit public schools and roads in Missouri, according to the report.
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“Each of our organizations supports the legalization of sports wagering in Missouri as a way to increase engagement with our fans and provide a fun and exciting new way to enjoy sports and root for our teams. We also believe that sports wagering will generate a significant new source of tax revenue for Missouri,” the teams said in a joint statement to the Post-Dispatch.
Missouri’s Long Run to Legal Sports Betting
More than 20 bills seeking to legalize sports betting have made their way through Missouri’s legislature, dying at varying points before hitting the governor’s desk for signature.
Neighboring states, such as Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Nebraska, have legalized wagering — with Illinois posting the nation’s fourth-largest handle ($5.9 billion) since May 2018.
Colorado has posted the sixth-largest handle over the same timeframe ($3.6 billion), while Tennessee has brought in $1.959 billion in handle, which is the 10th highest sum in the nation over the last 29 months.
Tax rates for the different initiatives vary from 6.75% to 21%, according to the Post-Dispatch, with application fees that range from $10,000 to $50,000 apiece.
To get the initiatives on Missouri’s ballot, sports betting advocates must get valid signatures from 8% of voters in each of the state’s eight congressional districts, the report said.
The states near Missouri that have not legalized sports betting are Kansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma – with the latter being the lone state yet to bring up legislation to legalize wagering during the 2021 legislative season.
Two states, Ohio and Massachusetts, have bills in their legislatures seeking to legalize sports betting statewide.