Missouri Committee Report Approves Sports Betting

Elana K. - December 11, 2019

The Missouri House’s Special Interim Committee on Gaming submitted a report that states that sports betting is "a legitimate opportunity to increase state revenues."

On December 5, the Missouri House’s Special Interim Committee on Gaming submitted its report to the Speaker of the House, Elijah Haahr. The report records the testimony of people involved in the gaming industry and the takeaway is that sports betting is a good option.

“The committee views the legalization of sports betting as a legitimate opportunity to increase state revenues and to direct such revenues in a manner similar to the Missouri Lottery and casino gaming so that the bulk will help to fund education,” reads the opening of the report.

In addition to increasing state revenue, the report cites another reason to legalize sports betting: If Missouri doesn’t legalize it, residents will just head over to neighboring states where it’s legal and bet there. So money will be spent, it just won’t go to Missouri - and that’s a real shame.

Of course, the Committee’s report doesn’t call for sports betting without rules and regulations. In fact, the report includes some specific rules. For example, the report strongly recommends enforcing a minimum age for wagering and making sure that geolocation technology is in place to prevent people from outside the state from betting. Both of these recommendations have been carried out in every state that has legalized sports betting so far, so they come as no surprise and they are certainly feasible.

Unfortunately, the report was unclear about whether the Committee is in favor of mobile sports betting, which is a big issue for sports bettors. The report also did not touch on the issue of integrity fees, which are currently included in two pre-filed Missouri sports betting bills despite the fact that Committee members are against it. Integrity fees are an additional tax on legal sports betting, and none of the states that have legalized sports betting have included them in their bills.

Hopefully, the Missouri bills won’t get stuck over an issue as seemingly obvious as integrity fees. If Missouri is able to leap the hurdle, estimates place annual tax revenue from sports betting at $37 million. There are now 37 million reasons for Missouri lawmakers to make legal sports betting a reality.


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