Officials Will Announce Whether Sports Betting Is On The Ballot By August 13

Written By Steve Schult on June 11, 2024 - Last Updated on June 12, 2024
A ballot initiative with yes/no options

The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will announce whether gambling initiatives will be on the ballot by August 13.

The office’s director of communications, JoDonn Chaney, told PlayMissouri that once local election officials submit their reports certifying or de-certifying the signatures submitted, the Secretary of State has two weeks to verify the process.

Election officials have until July 30 to approve those signatures, though it’s possible they could approve them early. However, there are four possible ballot initiatives this year, and the two gambling initiatives filed roughly double the required number of signatures.

In other words, it’s incredibly unlikely that state employees approve them before the deadline.

Local election authorities verify signatures, file reports

Last month, two political action committees submitted signatures for gambling-related ballot initiatives to the state Capitol. One would legalize Missouri sports betting, and the other would add a 14th casino on the Lake of the Ozarks.

Winning for Missouri Education submitted 340,000 names for a sports betting initiative. On the other hand, Osage River Gaming & Convention Group filed another 320,000 for the casino proposal.

Those signatures were sent to the 116 local election authorities in the Show Me State. The officials will review each name and ensure that it matches the signature and details associated with it.

Once they certify or de-certify the submitted signatures, they send a report back to the Secretary of State. The Secretary’s office does their own verification process on those reports. They look for outliers or possible mistakes.

According to Chaney, those reports are incredibly accurate and rarely overturned.

“We could not do it without our local election authorities,” Chaney said.

Election officials swamped with signatures

It only takes about 170,000 signatures to get an issue on the November ballot. But the two gambling initiatives alone have roughly 660,000 names to comb through.

Additionally, there is a proposal to enshrine abortion rights in Missouri’s constitution and another to make the state minimum wage $15 an hour starting in 2026. The latter also requires employers to provide paid leave for illness and to care for a family member.

That makes it incredibly unlikely that the reports will be sent back before the July 30 deadline.

Smaller districts could send them in early since there will be fewer signatures to verify. But the Secretary of State’s office can’t begin working on approving the reports until all of them are filed.

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Steve Schult

Steve Schult is the managing editor of PlayMissouri and several other Catena Media sites. The New York native spent a decade covering high-stakes poker tournaments for some of the game’s biggest outlets before joining Catena Media at the start of 2022. Since then, Schult has covered several regional gambling markets including Florida, California, Ohio and Kentucky.

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