Sports Betting Bill In Missouri House Awaits Full Debate And Vote

Written By Cheryl Coward on February 28, 2024 - Last Updated on February 29, 2024
A vote machine in the Missouri House of Representatives, which will be used for the floor vote on HB 2331

A sports betting bill sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx continues to wind its way through the Missouri General Assembly. This week, House Bill 2331 landed on the Informal Perfection Calendar, which means it is ready to go up for debate and a vote in the House.

Movement on the bill comes two weeks after the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. Missourians were denied a chance to place legal bets on the Chiefs from within state borders.

The game garnered record-breaking betting activity. There were 8.5 million active online sports wagering accounts, according to geolocation technology company GeoComply. Tens of thousands of attempts by Missourians to get in on the action were blocked.

Houx’s sports betting bill expected to clear the House

While Missouri sports betting remains illegal, most neighboring states allow it. Because of that, lawmakers are under extra pressure this session to make it happen.

Optimism, however, remains low. That is why a coalition of professional sports teams in Missouri is looking to bypass the legislative process by collecting signatures to get a sports betting referendum on November’s ballot. Yesterday, the group behind the initiative said they were more than halfway to the 180,000-signature benchmark needed to get the issue in front of voters this year.

With the jaw-dropping numbers from sports betting during the Super Bowl, Houx pointed out the amount of tax revenue the state could’ve collected had sports wagering been legal. He told PlayMissouri that passing legislation was an urgent matter.

“We’re missing out on $34 to $35 million worth of revenue to go to our education fund,” Houx said. 

The longtime advocate of legalizing sports betting in the Show Me State is undaunted in his quest. This session’s bill is his third attempt at getting a sports wagering measure through the House. His last two efforts were successful, at least in the House.

This session, HB 2331 has had no trouble getting past two committee votes with bipartisan support. It cleared the Special Committee on Public Policy by a 5-2 vote and the House Rules Committee for Administrative Oversight by a 9-1 vote.

The bill would:

  • Allow sports betting at existing casinos
  • Allow online sportsbooks to begin accepting wagers
  • Prohibit betting on in-state college teams
  • Impose a 10% tax on adjusted gross receipts from sportsbooks
  • Allocate the tax revenue to the state treasury as a “Gaming Proceeds for Education Fund”

Poll shows support for sports betting in Missouri

The efforts to make sports wagering legal have the support of many citizens in the state. A recent poll conducted by Fox4/Emerson College revealed that 62% of the state’s voters are favorable to sports betting.

Houx’s bill, however, faces an uphill battle if it makes it to the Senate side. The bill’s main opponent is Sen. Denny Hoskins. He has been successful in blocking previous Houx-sponsored measures. Hoskins demands that any sports betting bill must also legalize video lottery terminals (VLTs), which are slots-like gaming machines found in venues such as taverns and gas stations around the state.

Hoskins vows to oppose any bill that doesn’t include legalizing VLTs. His opposition could once again be a death knell for Houx’s bill.

In the meantime, HB 2331 has to survive the upcoming House debate, where amendments can be added. It’s possible that House members could appease Hoskins by adding an amendment that includes VLTs. If the bill gets past the debate, it will be added to the House calendar for a third reading and face a full House vote before heading to the Senate.

Photo by AP Photo / Orlin Wagner
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Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward is a contributor for PlayMissouri with a background in sports journalism. She started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She’s a die-hard women’s basketball fanatic and founded the website as a result of that passion. She has extensive experience covering gambling and sports betting in California, including coverage of the Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 election battle.

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