Missouri’s six professional sports teams are positioning themselves to claim a share of their state’s sports betting dollars under legislation brought before the Missouri Senate budget committee this week.
The teams would be allowed to offer mobile sports betting at and around their stadiums and arenas at a tax rate of 10 percent on adjusted gross receipts under legislation sponsored by Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Hegeman of Cosby. Identical legislation is being offered by Senate Majority Whip Tony Luetkemeyer of Parkville.
Hegeman’s committee did not vote on either bill during Wednesday’s hearing. The committee could bring the legislation to a vote before the end of this week, however.
If passed into law this legislative session, the proposal would legalize sports betting at pro sports venues and up to 13 riverboat casinos in Missouri. Each casino would be eligible to offer sports betting in-person and through up to three mobile apps, or six apps per casino company. Pro teams would be eligible for one mobile app each.
Higher Tax Rate Proposed In Rival Sports Betting Bill
A substantially higher tax rate of 21 percent is proposed in a rival bill sponsored by Sen. Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg.
Hoskins’ bill (SB 643) would allow in-person sports betting at riverboat casinos, via kiosks at casino-related hotels and restaurants, and mobile sports betting, with parlay games on sporting events run by the Missouri Lottery Corporation.
Casinos would be eligible for up to three mobile sportsbooks under the bill, with no specific allotment outlined for teams.
But it is the proposed tax rate of 10 percent in the Hegeman-Luetkemeyer plan that appears to be a top draw for the teams. Several asserted their support for the lower rate Wedndesday.
“We’re all on the same page” for the 10-percent rate, said St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt. “All the teams support this.”
The Other Issue: VLTs
Another draw for supporters of the Hegeman-Luetkemeyer proposal is its focus on sports betting without any mention of video lottery terminals, or VLTs. Missouri casinos, in particular, have long resisted any movement toward VLT expansion in the legislature.
“We felt working on just sports wagering and letting that legislation stand on its own, we’d have the best shot,” DeWitt said.
Chiefs VP of Civic Affairs Anne Scharf also spoke to the committee in support of the Hegeman-Luetkemyer legislation. She said all sides have “spent a considerable amount of time coworking toward a compromise.”
“In short, we’re asking for legislation that encourages fair marketplaces and ensures responsible gaming behavior,” Scharf said. “The Chiefs are very supportive of moving sports betting from an illegal betting market to a regulated one.”
Revenue Under The Coalition Proposal
Luetkemeyer said the coalition-backed legislation offered by himself and Hegeman would generate as much as $21.2 million per year for the state, most of that revenue going to public education.
But Hoskins said SB 643 would generate much more — netting $163 million a year or more once fully implemented in fiscal year 2027. Between $24.3 million to $47.8 million of that would go to public education based on official estimates.
“The one term I want you to remember is $163 million,” the Warrensburg Republican told the teams and the committee as support coalesced around the coalition-backed bill. Hegeman explained his position early on in the meeting.
“Kansas is now looking at it, Arkansas, Iowa has done it,” said Hegeman of legalizing sports betting. “So in my mind, it’s probably time — since we have some agreement on it and an ability to move forward, and time to look at it as well — to regulate it, to monitor it, to make sure that things are being done in a legal and upright fashion.”
Sports betting legislation is also pending in the Missouri House of Representatives. But both that chamber and the Senate will have to act soon to get sports betting through to Gov. Mike Parson this spring.
The Missouri General Assembly’s current legislative session is scheduled to end around May 13.