One of three avenues for the Missouri legislature to legalize sports betting made progress Thursday.
The House referred a bill creating a Missouri sports betting industry to the Administrative Oversight Committee. The move came a week after HB 2331 passed the Special Committee on Public Policy by a 5-2 margin.
The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx, a Republican representing parts of Johnson County.
If the bill clears the second committee, it would head to the House floor for a vote. Then, it goes to the Senate for a similar process in the upper chamber. Lastly, it would head to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.
Bill legalizes online and retail sports betting
This is the third time in as many years that Houx filed a sports betting bill. Each year, the details of the bill are fairly similar.
Houx’s bill would legalize online and brick-and-mortar sports betting in the Show Me State. The state would tax operator revenue at 10%. The bill creates a “Compulsive Gamblers Fund” within the Department of Mental Health.
Sports betting’s new tax revenue would go directly to the new fund.
Houx’s previous two attempts at sports betting easily passed the House. However, they never got out of the Senate.
Similar roadblocks lie ahead in the upper chamber
Previously, Houx’s legislation was the only attempt to legalize sports betting. But two Senate bills would also create the industry. The state’s professional sports franchises are backing a ballot initiative, but the legislature has nothing to do with that.
Sen. Denny Hoskins is one of the sponsors of those two bills. Ironically, he was the biggest reason sports betting didn’t pass in prior legislative sessions.
Hoskins believes that video lottery terminals, similar to slot machines and available in bars and restaurants, should be legalized with sports betting.
The failure to address the VLT grey market is why he played the obstructionist role in the last few years. Of the three bills in the legislature, only Hoskins’ bill addresses VLTs.
Hearing scheduled for Monday
Regardless of Hoskins’ response, Houx’s bill still needs to pass the House. The committee is scheduled to hear the bill at 2 p.m. on Monday.
The Administrative Oversight Committee is a 10-person panel comprised of seven Republicans and three Democrats. Houx is one of the committee members. Houx was also part of the public policy committee that passed his bill last week.