Lawmakers have been at each other’s necks for quite a while regarding a sports betting market. Six of Missouri’s neighboring states already have legal sports betting markets, and the other two, Oklahoma and Kentucky, are in the process of erecting a market. The latter had a bill receive resounding approval in the House last week.
Despite several of Missouri’s bordering states hearing proposals after it did, residents are still unable to visit online sportsbooks as lawmakers continue to drag their feet.
“I hear from people every day when I’m out and about ‘Why hasn’t Missouri done this yet?’ and quite frankly, we’re starting to look silly,” Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, said.
While progress in the House came swiftly this time, it also did last year—the issue recently has been the Senate, which has been unwilling to sign off on sports betting bills because of the issue of illegal gaming machines in rest stops, gas stations, bars and restaurants across the state.
There has been a recent turn in that matter, however. There are two lawsuits against Torch Electronics, which helps produce the illegal machines that have popped up across the state, one for cutting into profits and the other for violating consumer regulations and federal law.
Another point of contention has been the tax rate. The bill approved by the House Monday called for a 10% tariff on net revenue. That is less than half of the 21% rate that casinos pay but would still create an estimated $20 million in annual funding.
“I’ve talked to folks on both sides of the aisles who want it to be higher and folks on both sides of the aisle that want it to be lower, but to me, it’s about consistency,” Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, said.