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Nolan Arenado of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his solo home run against the Miami Marlins as we look at our Missouri sports betting petition.
Nolan Arenado of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his solo home run against the Miami Marlins. Photo by Sam Navarro/Getty Images/AFP.

The fight to open up Missouri sports betting and bring a legal platform with the best sportsbooks to the state has been a long and complicated one, with not a whole lot of resolution on the horizon.

So far it's been mostly lawmakers in both the state's House of Representatives and Senate that we've heard from regarding the possibility of Missouri sports betting apps going live through betting sites. In a somewhat refreshing twist, on Tuesday we received some news tied to how residents feel about a long-awaited legal sports wagering platform for the state.

The Winning for Missouri Education campaign, a group with a goal of pushing the question of a betting platform before state voters on the Nov. 5 election ballot, has released an update on its new petition campaign. The petition is aimed at forcing lawmakers' hands while asking the public what it thinks about a legal, regulated sports wagering industry for the state.

100,000 signatures so far

Winning for Missouri Education is reporting a strong start to its signature-gathering campaign. So far, over 100,000 signatures have been collected in support of legal sports betting for Missouri and bringing in the best sports betting apps.

“We are seeing strong support in the signature gathering effort because Missourians know it is time to legalize sports betting and use the funding for education,” campaign spokesman Jack Cardetti said. “It’s not only good for our economy but will support our teachers and future generations of Missourians for years to come.”

The campaign believes it's ahead of schedule in the attempt to get the question of legal sports betting on the Nov. 5 ballot. The campaign requires about 180,000 signatures to force the question to appear on the ballot, but it's hoping for 300,000 before May 5.

What is Winning for Missouri Education?

Winning for Missouri Education is a coalition that six professional sports teams from the Show-Me State are spearheading. Here's the list:

  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Kansas City Current
  • Kansas City Royals
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • St. Louis Blues
  • St. Louis SC

The teams, along with other proponents of a legal sports wagering platform for Missouri, are aiming for a constitutional amendment in the state that would allow for mobile and retail sportsbooks. That would include the 13 casinos in the Show-Me State, and an online sports wagering license for all of the professional sports teams.

Two more licenses could be rewarded under a newly created Missouri Gaming Commission, and a 10% tax of gross revenues would be installed. Tax revenue would go to, you guessed it, Missouri education.

The roadblocks

Legal sports betting in Missouri has been a touchy subject, with lawmakers in the state proposing and then promptly voting down Bills that would legalize what is already happening.

The previous two Missouri legislative sessions have seen efforts to legalize fail, either in the House or Senate.

The Senate, and namely Sen. Denny Hoskins, has been the main opponent of such a plan. It likely will be again this year, unless Hoskins gets his wish to include video lottery terminals in any legal sports betting bill. 

There's been little appetite to consider such a move so far, meaning the latest efforts for the legalization of sports betting are likely dead on arrival in the state Senate.

Where does it leave Missouri?

It appears that Missouri residents are eager to adopt their own legal sports betting platform and ultimately to start taking advantage of the tax revenue generated from it. Joining 38 other states in America is not out of the question.

It's not just the 100,000 signatures that are showing the widespread support of such a platform. A recent poll in the state from Fox 4 and Emerson College showed that 62% of residents in the state support sports betting and its ties to helping educational programs.

430,000 geolocation checks during Super Bowl weekend were reported by tracking service GeoComply from devices located in the Show-Me-State. All were hoping to access a sports betting platform in another state but failed.

So, momentum to have a legal sports betting initiative appear on the Nov. 5 ballot is certainly there, making it all but certain the question will go before voters.

The Winning for Missouri Education initiative will ultimately punt the idea of legal sports betting back to the state's lawmakers. Where that goes is anybody's guess, but at least those elected lawmakers will know just how their constituents feel about the continued legal sports betting obstruction that has been plaguing the state for years.