Missouri House To Hear Houx, Christofanelli Sports Betting Bills Wednesday

Written By Jack McGee on February 6, 2023 - Last Updated on February 7, 2023
Missouri lawmakers could start sports betting debate this week

The Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee meets on Feb. 8, where it will hear proposed sports betting bills from Reps Dan Houx and Phil Christofanelli.

Progress has been slow thus far, but that could end this Wednesday as a Missouri House committee becomes the first to debate sports betting legislation.

House committee to hear Houx, Christofanelli bills Wednesday

Several Missouri sports betting proposals were considered in 2022. One bill even made it out of the House — only to then be quashed by the Senate.

This year, lawmakers are under more pressure than ever to pass a bill since neighboring Kansas made the industry legal. One month into Missouri’s legislative session, and a number of different bills have been filed in both chambers of the General Assembly that would legalize sports wagering, though discussion has yet to begin.

The light at the end of the tunnel could be just around the corner, as the Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee plans to hear two sports betting bills, HB 556 and HB 581, this Wednesday at 5 p.m.

As originally reported by Legal Sports Report, these two bills have both been read twice. They were then referred to this same Emerging Issues Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Bill Hardwick

Recent GeoComply geolocation data is expected to play a factor in the meeting’s discussion. Earlier this month, state legislators requested stats from the company regarding attempted sports betting participation from Missouri bettors.

Senate bills haven’t been touched since early January

The two bills brought forth by Houx and Christofanelli have already had more recent actions than their primary Senate counterparts.

The most recent action on both Sens. Denny Hoskins’ and Tony Luetkemeyer’s sports betting bills took place on Jan. 12. After a first read on them, they were referred to the Committee on Appropriations, where Sen. Lincoln Hough sits as the chair.

The Appropriations Committee meets on Feb. 9 at 8 a.m. However, neither SB 1 or SB 30 are listed among the agenda’s topics of discussion. But with Hoskins being a member of the committee, he may seek to press for his legislation to have its first hearing soon.

Two more sports betting bills have been thrown into the mix

While the first four sponsors of sports betting bills in 2023 try to forward their legislation, two more state lawmakers put forth their own measures. Rep. Dave Griffith filed HB 953, and Sen. Nick Schroer filed SB 557.

Houx’s and Hoskins’ bills could make the most noise, but Schroer’s legislation indicates a continued division in the General Assembly – or at least – in the Senate.

Like Hoskins, Schroer would like to legalize video lottery terminals (VLTs) and sports betting in one fell swoop, something some legislators and most Missouri casinos have strongly opposed. To muddy the waters even more, lawmakers are under some pressure to consider whether gray slot machines, which are scattered across the state, are legal. They are tied up in the debate over VLTs.

It’s still early in the session, so it’s too soon to panic. But legalizing sports betting in The Show Me State still has a steep uphill climb in Jefferson City.

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Jack McGee

Jack, a Missouri State University journalism alum, has primarily covered government and politics with the Springfield Daily Citizen, which has contributed in keeping an eye out for what the Missouri legislature is up to when it comes to sports betting and other regulated forms of gaming. More of his work can be found at https://jack-mcgee.com.

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