Momentum building for Missouri to join ranks of states legalizing sports betting

Regional News
Elizabeth Warren

FILE – In this Nov. 18, 2019, file photo, patrons visit the sports betting area of Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I. Gambling regulators and sports books in several U.S. states are preparing to allow gamblers to bet on XFL games once the league’s season begins in early February 2020. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF)– For many longtime Kansas City Chiefs fans, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Super Bowl LIV.

And for gamblers, the Super Bowl is the granddaddy of them all, hundreds of millions of dollars will change hands, much of it illegal betting. But in Missouri, it’s possible that this could be the last Super Bowl where it is illegal to place a wager on the big game.

Missouri State Rep. Wes Rogers, a Democrat from Kansas City, said there’s bipartisan support for several bills that could legalize sports betting in the Show-Me-State.

“Sports gambling is pretty straightforward; you let the casinos build the books, you start taking bets, you start generating tax revenue, and then you’re bringing something to the white market which is already rampant on the black market,” Rogers said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled states could open up their own sports books two years ago. Several states, like Iowa and Indiana, already have.

Some allow betting on sports contests only at casinos; others have opened up to mobile apps.

“In a really good sports gambling bill, you would include both the brick and mortar sports books at the casinos and the mobile platform,” Rogers said. “And that also opens up sports gambling to places in the state where they’re not going to have access to a casino.”

Lawmakers tell FOX4 there are bills in both the Missouri and Kansas state legislatures, but they concede the odds favor Missouri passing a bill this year, with Kansas potentially following suit next year.

Many critics concede there’s little chance of slowing down the momentum for legal sports betting in Missouri, but they urge lawmakers to build in safeguards and programs for gambling addiction.

“It’s not going to go backwards. It’s going to keep going. There’s too many states that have already voted this in,” Kevin Bost said. “And so I just want to make sure people are taken care of and cam get help if they need it.”

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