Multiple Missouri sports betting bills will get their “day in court” in the legislature on Wednesday, April 4, when the state’s House Budget Committee will hold a public hearing regarding three pieces of legislation.
Among the bills slated for the hearing is House Bill 2320, introduced by Rep. Bart Korman (R-High Hill) earlier this year. It’s a bare-bones bill that tasks the Missouri Gaming Commission with promulgating regulations “establishing standards and procedures for wagering on sporting events.”
Missouri Sports Betting on the Agenda as House to Hold Hearings on Multiple Pieces of Sports Wagering Legislation
Of the other two bills, Rep. Dean Plocher’s HB 2535 calls for a 12% tax on sports wagering revenue and hews very closely to the “Model Legislation” that the sports league are seeking. The bill grants sports leagues a “sports betting right and integrity fee” of 1% of all sports wagers (not on revenue), which amounts to 20-25% of revenue. It also gives the leagues control over data that sportsbooks may use to grade wagers as well as the right to restrict which types of wagers sportsbooks may offer to patrons.
The third bill, HB 2406, introduced by Rep. Justin Alferman (R- Franklin, Gasconade and Osage), alters the definition of “gambling game” so that “sports wagering is considered a game of skill.” The bill also allows for currently licensed gambling boats to apply for sports betting certificates, outlines the cost of application, and calls for a 6.25% tax on sports wagering revenues.
Both HB 2406 and HB 2535 would allow sports betting on mobile and online platforms but would require first that patrons sign up for an account in person.
Missouri Capitol Building
Missouri has actively discussed the possibility of making sports betting legal throughout the legislative session and in both chambers of the assembly. In February, when Plocher introduced his bill, it was in tandem with Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-District 21) introducing similar legislation.
The two called their bills the “Comprehensive Missouri Sports Betting and Sports Protection Act.” But since that introduction, Hoskins’ offices has pulled back from SB 1013. Hoskins initially referred to his bill, which includes the integrity fee and control of data, as a “partnership” with the pro leagues.
Since then, SB 1013 has been sitting in committee and Hoskins has focused on what’s primarily a video gaming bill, which plays more to the wants of Missouri’s gaming operators and saw the insertion of clauses addressing sports betting regulation. That bill will go back up for vote at an unspecified date.
All of the Missouri bills are contingent upon the United States Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Oral argument in the case that may result in PASPA’s repeal, Murphy v NCAA, was heard in December and a decision is expected before the court’s current term ends in June. PASPA effectively bans sports betting in every state except Nevada.
With the decision possibly coming on April 2 (a non-argument day when decisions get released), the hearing may well occur 48 hours after the federal ban gets lifted. Timing may be everything.