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Missouri Mulls Several Sports Betting Bills

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The Show Me state could become “show me the money” state if one of several sports betting bills wending their way through the state legislature are approved.

Missouri’s two MLB teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals, are backing House Bill 119 which would authorize “the Missouri Gaming Commission to implement regulations governing sports wagering, including standards for the conduct of sports wagering and holders of certificates for sports wagering.”

The bill, proposed by Rep. Cody Smith R-Carthage, would prompt the gaming panel to test sports betting devices and forms of sport wagering, leading to the commission to approve and license an interactive sports gambling provider.

Smith’s bill proposes a tax of 6.25 percent on receipts from bets. That money would feed a state education fund.

State Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, is sponsoring Senate Bill 44 that would allow betting but instead of an integrity fee paid to the professional leagues, a portion of revenue would go toward stadium enhancements around the state.

Senate Bill 222 would allow licensed casino boats to take sports bets.

Hoskins has said legal sports betting in the state will generate from $12.5 million to $30.9 million annually. That would include revenue from mobile betting as well. The Missouri Gaming Commission estimate revenues closer to $13 million.

"It’s a gamble on how many people bet, how much they bet and how often they bet," Hoskins told Politifact Missouri.

At a state house committee meeting this month, Bryan Seely, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Major League Baseball voiced support for the Smith’s legislation saying the proposed bill would “protect baseball and its fans by providing consumer protections and a strong regulatory framework,” according to St. Louis Business Journal.

Representatives from the Cardinals and Royals also supported the bill.

“Legalized sports betting legislation in Missouri must protect the game of baseball and its fans from the risks of corruption associated with sports betting. HB 119 contains the right balance of protections and regulations to accomplish that goal while ensuring that Missouri creates a safe and ultimately successful sports betting market. For these reasons, it has our support,” stated William DeWitt, III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals.

“We believe any law on sports betting must include necessary regulations and requirements to guard against any potential corruption,” said Kevin Uhlich, Senior Vice President of Business for the Kansas City Royals. “House Bill 119 is the only legislation that clears the high bar our fans, our sport, and our state deserve.”

If lawmakers pass a sports betting bill this session, Missouri would join Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia that have approved and implemented sports wagering since the Supreme Court ruled it legal. About another 25 states have introduced but have yet to pass sports betting bills.