Xavier Pinson holding right arm up after shooting ball

Missouri’s Xavier Pinson watches a 3-point shot go in the basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won the game 102-98. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

  • Once thought a sure thing, chances of legalized Missouri sports betting this session are slim
  • An amendment to strip bill of video lottery terminals is holding up its passage
  • Missouri’s legislative session ends May 13

Missouri not only lost the sports betting border battle with Kansas, but it may lose the Missouri sports betting war altogether.

In March, the Missouri House approved a sports betting bill that was expected to be slightly altered and passed overwhelmingly by the Senate to legalize sports betting in the state. However, after a last-minute amendment was floated last week to strip to the bill of 5,000 video lottery terminals (VLTs), Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-21) filibustered for nearly three hours until the meeting was concluded.

Hoskins said he will continue to filibuster the bill every time it comes up for discussion if the amendment stripping VLTs out of the legislation is included.

VLTs or Nothing in Missouri

Missouri casinos are concerned with the inclusion of VLTs in the bill, as the video lottery gaming terminals could be installed in fraternal clubs, social clubs, and truck stops. Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, (R-59) introduced the amendment during the April 27 Senate hearing that triggered the Hoskins’ filibuster.

Hoskins spoke on KCMO Talk Radio on Friday, April 29, and said Missouri casinos need to realize they stand to make “hundreds of millions of dollars” on sports betting if it’s legalized in the state.

“I was willing to compromise, to come down from a 21% tax rate down to a 10% tax rate, but the casinos want the golden ticket. They don’t want small businesses to make any money. They don’t want fraternal veterans organizations to make any money. They want to keep it all for themselves. Hopefully cooler heads prevail and they come to their senses and we can get something passed in the next two weeks,” Hoskins said.

While the VLT amendment is unlikely to go away this session, Missouri’s sports betting hopes are rapidly dwindling. The state’s legislation session will end on Friday, May 13.

Missouri Sports Betting Details

The Missouri House of Representative approved HB 2502, a bill to legalize retail and online sports betting for state casinos and Missouri professional sports franchises, by a vote of 115-33, in later March.

The bill includes a 10% sports betting tax rate and will legalize retail and online sports betting in Missouri casinos. Bill HB 2502 (sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx) will allow for 39 separate sportsbook skins distributed amongst the state’s 13 casinos and six professional sports organizations.

The bill will allow each casino to offer a maximum of three skins, but will cap the number of skins per casino company at six if they own two or more facilities. The remaining skins will be allocated to Missouri professional sports franchises.

The breakdown for skins will be as such:

  • Affinity Gaming: Six skins
  • Boyd Gaming: Six skins
  • Caesars Entertainment: Six skins
  • Century Casinos: Six skins
  • Penn National Gaming: Six skins
  • Bally’s Corp.: Three skins
  • Missouri professional sports franchises (6): One skin each

House fiscal analysts believe legalized sports betting could result in around $10 million in annual tax revenue for the state.

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