ST. LOUIS- Professional sports teams in the state of Missouri, including the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis CITY SC are hopeful that legislation to legalize sports gambling in the state will get over the finish line in 2022, potentially negating the need to put a proposition before voters.
Our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report that Bill DeWitt III, along with representatives of other pro sports teams and their lobbyists were on hand in Jefferson City Wednesday, pressing their case for legislation that would add Missouri to the list of more than 30 states which have legalized gambling on sports in some form or another since 2018. Illinois joined the ranks in 2020.
The gambling industry publication Sportshandle.com reports that six pro sports franchises in the state have agreed on an arrangement to came to an agreement Wednesday to back legislation “that would allow for statewide mobile wagering tethered to existing gaming locations.” It was described as the first time that pro sports teams and gaming companies would be in “lockstep” to support passage of a bill.
“All of the professional sports teams in Missouri support legislation that will allow wagering to occur in a responsible way in the appropriate setting,” DeWitt told the Post-Dispatch Thursday.
Previous efforts to legalize gambling on professional sports in Missouri have stalled in part because of the fight and proliferation of illegal gambling machines at convenience stores and gas stations across the state. “We have casinos in Missouri we have a lottery in Missouri but those are highly regulated endeavors these new black market gambling machines, so-called no chance or pre-reveal machines are illegal under Missouri law and we need to stop their proliferation,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said when machines found there were destroyed last fall.
A state lawmaker told FOX2 back in 2018 that the fight over regulating the machines was potentially a $90 million fight over money that could end up funding education in the state.