JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — House Bill 581 filed Wednesday and House Bill 556 filed Tuesday have the same goal in mind, bringing sports betting to Missouri.
“It’s just simply been too long for our legislature to fail to act on this issue that’s so important to many of our constituents,” Rep. Phil Christofanelli, a St. Peters Republican and HB 581 sponsor, said.
Kansas joined Arkansas, Illinois, and Iowa as neighboring states with legal and live sports betting in September. Nebraska legalized sports betting in 2021 but has yet to go live. 16,000 people tried to bet from inside Missouri state lines the first day of Kansas sports wagering.
“With geofencing today we can see people going across the Missouri River and the Mississippi River in St Louis they have a red light on it goes green they turn around on the next exit and drive home,” Rep. Dan Houx, R, Warrensburg, the sponsor of HB 556, said.
The Kansas lottery said in its first three months net revenues from sports betting topped $10 million. That meant more than $1 million in the state’s 10 percent cut.
The bills filed by Republicans Dan Houx of Warrensburg and Phil Christofanelli from the St. Louis area have proposed the same 10% tax in Missouri for sportsbooks. Unlike Senate Bill 1, proposed by another Warrensburg Republican, Senator Denny Hoskins, their bills don’t involve regulating video lottery terminals. Those have been a sticking point in past debate.
“It’s always been my belief video lottery and sports gambling are two separate bills so it’s just a sports gambling bill all on its own,” Houx said of his bill.
The latest version of Houx’s bill filed in 2023 bars what are known as “prop bets” on individual performances by collegiate athletes. Both House bills have measures for researching the best ways to help compulsive gamblers.
“We want to make sure if there are going to be any more revenues coming in from gaming we are also attending to needs of anyone who may have problem with gambling addiction,” Christofanelli said.
Though much is still to be worked out, the bill sponsors say they like their chances.
‘We’re back at it, we’re going to keep going working hard at it. I believe it’s going to be one of the top 10 bills coming out of the House this yea,” Houx said.
Houx predicts one of those bills would make it to committee in the next couple weeks and make it out of the House early next month when they could then start working out differences with the Senate version tied to video lottery terminals.
Estimates are if passed sports wagering would net Missouri $15 to $20 million per year.