St. Louis Cardinals President Wants Missouri Sports Betting On November Ballot

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • A bill that would legalize sports betting is stuck in the senate
  • The Cardinals are part of a coalition of local professional teams that want legal sports betting
  • The legislative session closes in two weeks

As the legalization of sports betting continues to stall in the Missouri legislature, the St. Louis Cardinals are looking to circumvent congress and get the issue on the November ballot. 

“We’re just so frustrated [with the lack of progress],” said Bill DeWitt III, president of the Cardinals. “It’s working against our fans and our citizens who overwhelmingly support it.”

DeWitt has been an outspoken proponent of legal sports betting and is one of many that have feverishly encouraged legislators to reach a resolution. He recently said that he would like the issue to be decided by the masses via the initiative petition process.

Stuck in a logjam

Sports betting is legal in 37 states but not Missouri, despite years of back-and-forth between officials.

The state House quickly moved a bill that would have allowed locals to place wagers on sports events to the Senate earlier in the year. However, it has been stuck there ever since and is unlikely to be passed over the next two weeks, which are the final of the ongoing legislative session.

Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) has been one of the reasons that there has been a logjam regarding all sports betting legislation. He believes that the issue of illegal gaming machines and video lottery terminals (VLTs) also needs to be addressed before the state can expand its gambling enterprise to sports betting. 

“I know I get a lot of the blame for sportsbooks not passing, but neither one of these bills are mine,” said Hoskins. “I don’t control them.”

Hoskins’ plan to control VLTs, which have flood establishments such as rest stops, bars and restaurants, and convenience stores throughout the state was not to get rid of them, but to legalize and regulate them, thereby creating more taxable revenue and increasing their safety. 

The Senate voted on April 5 against Hoskins’ plan, but despite that, the sports betting stalemate has continued.

“As of right now, I would say it’s very doubtful that sportsbooks will pass in the state of Missouri this year,” said Hoskins.

DeWitt conveyed his intent, in light of the lack of progress, to get sports betting onto the ballot to Fox 4 News in Kansas City. 

“If you make it legal, we can regulate and tax this business,” said DeWitt. “Right now, it’s a free for all.”

Plans and future potential

DeWitt is not alone in his desire to legalize sports betting in Missouri. He was joined long ago by a coalition of executives and representatives of other local professional sports teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Blue in attempts to lobby the issue over the line.

But with the May 12 closing date for the legislative session looming large, DeWitt is still confident that he and the group of professional teams are supporting the right bill for Missouri. He also declared that Hoskins did not have the necessary support to expand VLTs.

The state congress is working on a way to make it harder to pass ballot initiatives, but voters would be able to approve sports betting (or other ideas put forth on the ballot) with a simple majority vote of over 50%. That means that the Cardinals and other teams are on a short timeline.

The bill languishing in the senate would allow 13 local casinos to service patrons with up to three sportsbook options. Sports teams could also partner with a sportsbook to offer gambling services in locations near stadiums. On top of that, sports fans would also have access to mobile and online betting apps

There is already widespread sports betting interest in Missouri. Geo tracking data company GeoComply tracked a quarter of a million attempts to access sportsbooks in nearby states such as Kansas during the Chiefs’ February run to the Super Bowl. The proposed 15% tax rate on sportsbooks’ revenue would also add an estimated $30 million in annual funding for the state. 

While DeWitt is fighting off the field, the Cardinals are struggling on it. Their 10-20 record is the worst in the National League Central and tied for the fourth-worst in the league.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.