Sports betting in Missouri has always been categorized as illegal, even though many other forms of gambling are now legal and state-regulated. If you look back to the early 1800s, the gambling industry was thriving with riverboat casinos and 20 horse racing tracks which took wagers. This lasted until the end of the century, but things changed at the beginning of the 20th century. All forms of gambling were declared illegal in Missouri.
Hope was however rekindled when horse racing was revived in 1994, even though on a restricted level. For instance, at that time, off-track betting wasn’t allowed unless there was a live horse race. These milestones would turn out to be the initial steps in the long quest legalization of gambling in the state. However, with the federal government passing the PASPA (Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which outlawed betting on sports, the sports betting industry stagnated for nearly two decades.
Up until today, its sports betting is not legal yet in Missouri, but plenty of attempts have been made to try and license and regulate retail and online sports betting. In January 2016, steps towards legalizing sports gambling were seen when representative Scott Fitzpatrick introduced an HB1941 bill to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports. This prompted lawmakers to consider issues like possible taxations surrounding Daily Fantasy Sports in the state.
Later that year in June, Governor Jay Nixon signed the Missouri Fantasy Sports Consumer Protection Act, HB1941 into the law. The bill allows the Missouri Gaming Commission to license and regulate the Daily Sports Football throughout the state. The required licensing fee was at $50k plus a tax rate of 11.5% of the gambling revenue.
2018 to Date
In February 2018, Bart Korman the HB2320, a bill that was meant to allow sports betting on academic and professional events. The bill would also allow licensed riverboat operators to offer the sports betting services, but on the condition that the PASPA is repealed.
In March the same year, another lawmaker, Senator Danny Hoskins, proposed an amendment of the SB767 so that sports betting is legal in the state. The bill only wanted to legalize Video Lottery Terminals, though the same senator later amended the bill aiming to allow riverboat casinos also to offer sports wagering services as well. This bill would furthermore enforce a 12% tax on gambling revenue on sports betting plus a license fee of $10000.
By December 2018, Hoskins pre-filed Senate Bill 44before the 2019 regular session so that riverboat casinos could regulate sports betting through interactive channels. The bill wanted licensed facilities to offer sports to players who are located within the state. The new SB44 would enforce a 12% gross tax and an extra 2% fee. For licensing, on the other hand, the bill proposed a licensing fee of $10000 with a $5000 yearly renewal fee.
In the same month, HB119 was pre-filled before the 2019 legislative session to legalize sports betting. HB119 proposed an integrity fee of 0.75% turnover for sports leagues and an extra 0.25% turnover, for all the bets placed on the Division one basketball and NCAA football. Operators were also required to pay an additional 6.25% gross win tax plus a $5 yearly fee for five years with a $10 payable at the end of that period.
In February the following year, SB44 was re-introduced by House representative Ross and amended it to include internet gambling services. This bill would allow both in-person betting on the licensed boats and also through interactive channels. The operators would have to spend $10000 on licensing fees plus yearly renewals of $5000 every year. The tax rate on operators would be capped at 12% of gross wins and an extra 2.5% administration fee. In each quarter, there would be an administration fee of 0.5% payable to the Missouri Gambling Commission.
As hard as the lawmakers pushed for the changes, it was all to no avail by the end of 2019. However, in preparation for 2020 legislative sessions, Senator Hoskins pre-filed another bill in December 2019, SB567 that permits the state’s riverboat casino to seek a retail sports betting license with a $25k fee and another $25k should the riverboat casino want to partner with an online betting provider to offer sports betting services. A 9% tax rate was set for this and another 0.25% in royalty tax levy was set here.
Still, in December 2019, Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer also filed his own bill, SB754 that dictated a licensing fee of $10k for retail sports betting on riverboats and $10k more for interactive sports betting. The tax rate in this bill was set at 6.25% with royalty fees directly paid to the league standing at 0.75%. These are the bills that will possibly determine Missouri’s sports betting landscape in 2020.