On Tuesday, Missouri lawmakers gathered to begin hearings to create a sports betting bill for the state. There have been multiple bills filed into Missouri to get the state to legalize the industry. The Show-Me State is beginning to get on board with sports wagering, and 2021 looks like a solid year for the state to get something done.
The biggest issue for Missouri sports betting is how the betting operators’ main backer is. A majority of states are using casinos for operators to form partnerships. Still, there is a battle brewing between the casinos and video lottery terminals that would also like a hand in the pot.
A lot of what was discussed on Tuesday in the early groundwork for both sides to battle out what sports betting in Missouri will look like.
Missouri Sports Betting Hearing
The Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing regarding two sports betting bills filed into the state on Tuesday. Caleb Rowden and Tony Luetkemeyer sponsor the bills that were heard. Both betting bills have a similar language with 13 skins in the state.
Early on, Rowden might see more support from some lawmakers and support Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. Winter also stated he favors the other two sports betting bills that have been filed to the state.
Sen. Luetkemeyer was also interviewed during today’s hearing about his bill. He has a similar bill to Rowden but does have lower tax rates, and the overall industry is structured slightly differently. Luetkemeyer also wants to add sports betting districts outside of Kansas City and St. Louis sports venues.
However, not everyone favors the casino-backed sports betting bills in Missouri.
Missouri Video Lottery Terminals
For the last year, Missouri has attempted to legalize lottery terminals in the state and is getting closer in 2021. The authorization bill to launch VLT’s would be huge for the state, but lawmakers that are backing the bill are coming for more than just legalization.
Sen. Denny Hoskins, a sponsor of the VLT bill, was questioning Winter about casino-backed sports betting during today’s session. Hoskins is looking for lottery terminals in the Show-Me State to share in sports betting, knowing the potential it has in Missouri.
This will be a difficult fight for VLT’s backers to face, especially with legalization not there yet. However, video lottery terminals could play a huge role in what Missouri sports betting will look like. There is a chance that Missouri could expand sports betting even further through VLT’s and casinos, and video lottery terminals could also hold up a sports betting bill; if they do not seem it is fair, they are being left out.
What’s Next for Missouri
More hearings will continue in the state. Video Lottery Terminals will continue to battle it out to get some access to sports betting over casinos.
Lawmakers will also decide which sports betting bill they will want to back, or they could use language from all three bills to create an original wagering bill. Luetkemeyer stated today he is willing to change the language in his bill about sports betting districts, so this is just the first step in what’s to come in Missouri.