Two more Missouri legislators have introduced sports betting bills as the General Assembly convened in Jefferson City this January.
Dan Houx and Phil Christofanelli are the latest representatives to submit a sports betting bill proposal.
Both houses of General Assembly have two sports betting bills to consider
Efforts to legalize sports betting in Missouri failed in the General Assembly last year. Lawmakers seem intent on a resolution this session, as four measures have been proposed so far.
In December, Sens. Tony Luetkemeyer and Denny Hoskins pre-filed sports betting bills, giving their measures a head start.
Now at the start of the session, Reps. Dan Houx and Phil Christofanelli have offered up their own bills, setting up a legislative battle. It remains uncertain which measure or combination will reach Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.
House of Representatives joins conversation on sports betting
Houx’s and Christofanellis’ sport betting bills are – for the most part – very similar.
In fact, they indicate more consensus across both chambers. The first four sports betting bills set a tax rate at 10%. This is a far cry from previous disagreements between Houx and Hoskins, who sought an 8% and 21% tax rate, respectively.
Additionally, all four pieces of legislation seek to allow Missouri’s 13 casinos to each conduct sports wagering through up to the three individually branded platforms. Although, in Hoskins’ bill, the second and third platforms would cost gambling boats high administrative fees.
Different from their colleagues in the upper chamber, however, Houx and Christofanelli’s bills (HB556 and HB581, respectively) avoid placing restraints on sports franchises as to which wagering platforms can operate on their grounds. Both House bills read:
“Sports wagering over the internet through any interactive sports wagering platform may be offered by any licensed wagering operator within any designated sports district.”
Both House bills require the Missouri Gaming Commission to establish not only self-exclusion programs in casinos but also an online self-exclusion program. Applications would be found on sports wagering operators’ websites for problem gamblers to self-exclude from gambling.
Despite advantage of prefiling, Hoskins’ measure faces uphill climb
Hoskins, Houx, Luetkemeyer, Christofanelli and, seemingly, most Missouri lawmakers want sports betting to pass. Not everyone wants video lottery terminals (VLTs), however.
Hoskins’ sports betting legislation, SB 1, legalizes sports wagering, addresses compulsive gambling and allows for the implementation of VLTs across the state. That could cause the most tumult in the General Assembly. Hoskins has been resolute, however. He said the bill must include VLTs in order to raise enough money to fund the programs the state wants to fund. Missouri’s casinos, and other legislators, including Houx, have pushed back on that.
While there were certainly other disagreements last year, VLTs was seen as the death blow to sports betting in 2022.