Sen. Denny Hoskins, a Republican state legislator, pre-filed priority legislation on Dec. 1 that would legalize sports betting. The measure would both legalize sports wagering and allow video lottery terminals (VLTs) to operate within retail lottery locations, veteran and fraternal facilities, bars and truckstops.
Hoskins looks for common ground on tax rate
Lawmakers were unable to put together a bill to legalize sports betting in Missouri during the last legislative session. Neighbor Kansas, however, was successful in its legalization efforts, taking away potential tax dollars from The Show Me State.
Senate Bill 1 is titled Honoring Missouri Veterans and Supporting Missouri Education Act. In it, tax revenue from sports betting would fund elementary and secondary education, higher learning initiatives and capital improvements at veterans’ homes and cemeteries.
Under Hoskins’ new bill, sports betting would be permitted online and inside the state’s casinos within the state’s boundaries. All of Missouri’s casinos are located on “gambling boats” along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
In previous sessions, Hoskins has stressed the need for a 21% tax rate on sports betting to provide funding for these state programs. This number was considerably more than some of his peers in the Missouri General Assembly wanted.
With SB 1, Hoskins has settled on perhaps a more agreeable rate of 10%. He said his bill would generate more than $250 million in tax revenue from VLTs alone:
“Passage of this legislation would bring much-needed revenue to Missouri schools and veterans homes. My sportsbook legislation could generate more than $10 million each year, while video lottery terminals would generate over $250 million in new state revenue, which more than makes up the $50 million funding shortfall our veterans’ homes and cemeteries experienced this year. We must honor our commitment to our veterans and VLTs provide a consistent revenue stream to do that.”
Hoskins conservatively projects a $10 million return on sports betting in the first year, while past legislative analysis suggests Missouri could bring in as much as $20 million in sports betting taxes the initial year.
In addition to the taxes collected on sports betting, licensing and application fees would supplement that revenue, Hoskins said.
Sports betting could begin before NFL season
If passed by the Missouri Legislature and signed by Gov. Mike Parson, who has indicated his willingness to do so, it would go into effect on Aug. 28, just ahead of the 2023 NFL season.
The bill would allow professional sports teams, many of them betting proponents, to attain a designated sports district mobile license. Such a license would permit sports wagering via interactive platforms in areas surrounding their home stadiums.
The pre-filing was announced in unison with two other bills Hoskins hopes to forward in 2023’s first legislative session: the Regulatory Sandbox Act and the Save Women’s Sports Act. Hoskins noted:
“These three bills reflect some of my highest priorities for the 2023 legislative session. Each of these measures has received wide support in previous sessions, and it’s my hope we can finally get these bills across the legislative finish line early in 2023.”
Despite attempting to file a more amenable bill, Hoskins likely won’t be alone in proposing sports betting legislation. Other political figures, such as Rep. Dan Houx, will likely have different ideas about how to best legalize and roll out sports wagering in Missouri.
Supporters will likely have to settle on a compromise in order for legal Missouri sports betting to see the light of day in 2023.