Another week, another episode of late-night sports betting theater on the Missouri Senate floor.
For the second Wednesday night in a row, Sen. Denny Hoskins led a push for Missouri sports betting legislation on the Senate floor.
Each one got derailed by casino opposition to various inclusion of video lottery terminals (VLTs).
After filibustering the casino-backed sports betting legislation last week after an attempt to strip VLTs from his amendment, Hoskins added sports betting language to HB 2400, a bill originally relating to retirement benefits for professional employer organizations.
Last week’s bill combined regulating sports betting with allowing 5,000 VLTs at fraternal and veterans organizations along with truck stops. This one removed a prohibition on lottery games that are “coin- or currency-operated.”
After withdrawing his amendments, Hoskins tweeted:
“I tried to pass a standalone sportsbook bill tonight. Unfortunately, I ran into some resistance. But I’ll keep working toward a compromise bill that provides funding for our veterans and education.”
Casino sources tell PlayMissouri that they opposed the bill because it contained a back door for VLTs via the lottery.
Sports betting language increases money to state
Hoskins has complained that Missouri doesn’t get enough money in the proposal from casinos and sports teams.
Discounting the VLT language, Hoskins’ proposal on Wednesday looked like a good possible compromise.
Compared to the sports betting bill passed by the House in March, Hoskins’ proposal:
- Increased the tax rate from 8% to 15%.
- Increased the licensing fee from $150,000 to $1.25 million.
- Allowed the 13 Missouri casinos to have up to two additional online skins for a total of three. Each added skin would cost an additional $1.25 million.
- Included sports betting kiosks allowing parlay bets at lottery retailers.
Some progress on Missouri sports betting negotiations
As Missouri sports betting negotiations play out publicly, the floor escapades show some progress with eight days remaining in the legislative session.
Hoskins has been negotiating with Sen. Dan Hegeman and Rep. Dan Houx, who sponsored the casino legislation, and representatives of the casinos and sports teams.
The sports betting bill passed by the House had a fiscal note of just $10 million. Hoskins’ own sports betting bill had a fiscal note of $163 million. Even without the VLT language, the proposal Wednesday would be much closer to Hoskins’ number.
“I’ve always supported sportsbook and will continue to support sportsbook in this state, but we just can’t take a bill that the casinos give us that doesn’t protect our taxpayers here in Missouri as far as problem gambling, a bill that would be one of the lowest tax rates on sports betting in the United States, and doesn’t hardly provide any money for education and veterans’ homes in the state,” Hoskins said last week in a Senate podcast.
Given the resistance to legalizing VLTs in the Missouri Legislature, there’s hope that these new sports betting parameters could lead to a compromise, bringing more money to education and veterans programs without VLTs.
The Missouri legislative session concludes May 13.