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Missouri’s Professional Teams Hope to Legalize Sports Wagering

Missouri Missouri's Professional Teams Hope to Legalize Sports Wagering
Jan 20, 2022 12:01Tim Ronaldson

In what would have been an unexpected move just a few years ago, professional sports franchises in Missouri are joining forces with the state’s casinos to push for legalized sports gambling in the state.

Legislation on legal sports wagering hasn’t made much progress in Missouri since the practice was legalized in the United States back in 2018, when the Supreme Court overturned the PASPA law. But, the professional franchises believe that sports wagering would be great for Missouri, and they’re hoping their new combined efforts will prove to be successful in the near future.

The Combined Effort

The push for legalized sports wagering in Missouri is coming from many of the state’s professional sports franchises — which include the St. Louis Cardinals of MLB, St. Louis Blues of the NHL and Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.

They are joining forces with some of the state’s legal casino operators, including Penn National Gaming, the company that operates the Hollywood Casino located in Maryland Heights.

Before PASPA was overturned in 2018, many professional sports leagues were fighting against legalized sports wagering. But, now they have seen the immense benefits it has provided to fans and taxpayers alike in other states, and many are jumping on board.

The Path Forward

Missouri hasn’t been able to get together to legalize sports wagering just yet, but it’s not for lack of trying. Since 2019, legislators have proposed more than 20 different bills that would have legalized sports wagering, but none of them has become law.

There are four bills that have been introduced just this year in the Missouri Legislature, all of which could serve as an eventual framework for how legislation could be structured.

There was plenty of talk in Missouri that the state would need to hold a voter referendum to get sports wagering passed. In fact, it’s an idea that many of the professional sports teams were considering to push forward.

However, it’s possible that a new plan they are pushing could negate the need for that.

Their latest proposal would separate sports wagering from other gambling-type legislation, which would allow sports betting to be debated separately on its own merits. The state Legislature has been trying to clamp down on video gambling machines that have been popping up illegally at convenience stores in Missouri, and they’ve tried to tie that issue to sports gambling.

In essence, that is one of the main reasons why sports gambling legislation in Missouri hasn’t made much progress. The professional sports franchises and casinos are hoping that, by separating the two issues into separate legislation, sports wagering could start to make progress.

A Huge Benefit for Missouri

The professional sports franchises and casinos are emphasizing how impactful legal sports wagering could be for Missouri. Other states that have legalized the practice have implemented tax rates that range anywhere from 6.25% on the low end all the way to 51% on the high end.

The tax rate being proposed by this new coalition for Missouri would see a 10% tax rate as the starting point. That could result in significant extra tax revenue for Missouri.

Some other states that have been very successful in rolling out legalized sports wagering have brought in literally millions of dollars in extra revenue. The National Conference of State Legislatures, for instance, reported that New Jersey collected $49.4 million in sports-betting-related tax revenue just last year. And in its 2020 fiscal year, Pennsylvania brought in $38.7 million.

So, there are real examples of just how beneficial sports wagering can be to states — in addition to all the fun and excitement it brings to players.

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Tim Ronaldson
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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