State lawmakers want to work on the legalization of Missouri sports betting in 2019. As New Jersey sports betting, Pennsylvania sports betting, West Virginia sports betting and others all begin to offer betting on sports in 2018, states across the US are drafting legislation to join in on the increased revenue now that the Supreme Court ended the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May. Count Missouri among those states, as lawmakers push to join that group as they strive to legalize sports betting in Missouri in 2019.
Representative Dean Plocher commented, “I certainly anticipate it being out there for discussion before the House and the Senate." Plocher had previously sponsored Missouri sports betting legislation earlier in 2018 that stalled but has high hopes since then that something will come together in 2019 as multiple drafts of MI sports betting legislation have been making the rounds since then.
One of the major issues that kept legal sports betting in Missouri from becoming law the first time around was the idea of an integrity fee that major sports leagues were asking for from the state. Since then, the leagues have compromised more, asking for a royalty at a smaller rate than the original fee. Rep. Plocher feels that the key is finding common ground for the fee between the casinos that would house the sportsbooks and the professional sports leagues. None of the eight states currently pay any of the leagues this type of fee, and legislators who are currently working on a bill to legalize DC sports betting took out any language in the bill that would account for a fee paid to the leagues.
Lawmakers in Missouri may have another motivating factor besides the estimated $18 million to $40 million in state revenue annually from legal MI sports betting. States that surround the Show-Me State are kicking sports betting legalization into high gear once legislative sessions kick off in 2019. Arkansas, Illinois and Kentucky are all gearing up for a big push in early 2019, and any of those states could attract sports bettors from Missouri into their state. The lost revenue for the state and for the casinos could prove costly. As more proposals are written up and more discussions before the Missouri House and Senate take place, a strong push in 2019 for legal sports betting in Missouri seems inevitable.