Missouri appears ready to take its first step forward with online casino legislation in 2022.
Rep. Jim Murphy pre-filed legislation that would legalize online casino as well as sports betting and internet poker.
It’s the same bill language introduced last session by Rep. Dan Houx.
Long a proponent for sports betting, Murphy likes the idea of doing online casino at the same time. He hopes to move the issue forward by getting online casino its first Missouri committee hearing in April.
“We’re going to put them all together and fight for what we can get,” Murphy told PlayMissouri. “Sometimes it’s baby steps and sometimes you get big leaps. We’re going to fight for both, and I think both of these are doable.”
Details of the proposed online casino bill
The legislation allows Missouri’s 13 riverboat casinos to offer poker, slots and table games online.
Here’s the main details:
- Again, the casinos pay an initial fee of $50,000 to participate in online casino.
- All online casino offerings get taxed at 12%.
- Five-sixths of iGaming proceeds go to an education fund, one-sixth the veterans commission capital improvement trust fund.
- Each casino may partner with up to three individually branded interactive gaming skins.
- Interactive gaming licensees pay $50,000 for the initial license and each year to renew.
- Sets a start date for online casino at Sept. 1, 2022.
Sports betting language in Missouri bill
Missouri could have up to 39 sports wagering sites/mobile apps under the bill. Key details include:
- Casinos pay $50,000 for an initial license to offer sports betting.
- A tax rate of 6.75% on adjusted gross receipts equals Nevada and Iowa for lowest in the nation.
- Each casino may partner with up to three individually branded interactive wagering platforms (skins).
- Interactive sports wagering platforms pay another $50,000 for an initial license, renewable annually for $20,000.
- Permits multi-jurisdictional sports wagering agreements within the US if allowed under state and federal laws.
“Sports wagering in Missouri isn’t something new,” Murphy said. “It’s something that goes on every day of every week. We should be legalizing it and shouldn’t have our citizens breaking the law every time they want to make a football bet. People are clamoring for it, and this is the year to get it done.”
This won’t be the only Missouri sports betting bill
Expect many sports betting bills filed in Missouri this year, as usual. Last year, Missouri lawmakers introduced 10 sports wagering bills.
But this will be the only one that includes online casino.
Rep. Phil Christofanelli already pre-filed House Bill 1666. It’s similar to Murphy’s bill with sports betting through the casinos, three skins, the same tax rate and similar fees.
But the issue of legalizing video lottery terminals (VLTs) has complicated the sports betting push the past three years.
It was Sen. Denny Hoskin’s bill that paired legalizing sports wagering and VLTs that almost made the finish line. And it figures to be Hoskin’s bill that has the best chance this year.
Prospects for online casino in 2022
Just getting a hearing for online casino in Missouri would be a victory in 2022.
But if sports wagering and VLTs get tied together once again, there could be an opening for online casino to join the group at the end.
“Frankly, I really do see a path to get it through,” Murphy said. “I work pretty hard at this thing. I pass stuff. We’re going to work hard on it no matter how long it takes.”
In states where both are legal such as Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, online casinos generate more revenue for the industry and state than sports betting.
Missouri’s legislative session begins Jan. 5 and runs to May 20. All the action usually occurs in the final two weeks.
Murphy believes that this session will be different than the last few. With redistricting as a main focus during an election year, he thinks anything can happen.
“When you have a year like this with redistricting and everything else, a lot of horse-trading takes place during the session,” Murphy said. “Nothing is dead and nothing is alive in a session like this. I’m pretty hopeful if we make the right moves, we can move something forward when in normal circumstances we couldn’t. It’s part of politics.”