Six Major Sports Teams Campaign to Make a Ballot on Sports Betting Legalization in Missouri

After two sports betting bills passed the Missouri House and died in the Senate in 2022 and, respectively, 2023 to mark repeated attempts to legalize sports betting in the state, a coalition of six major sports teams including the Kansas City Chiefs, Royals and Current is reportedly launching a campaign to put sports gambling on the 2024 ballot.

Initiative to Launch Sports Betting in Missouri:

As Missouri Independent (MI) reports, the initiative, financially supported by two sports betting platforms, represents a joint effort of sports franchises and sports betting operators to bring the sports gambling to Missouri. The coalition has reportedly opted to refer directly to voters after Missouri lawmakers rejected their previous legislative proposals. St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III reportedly said: ”Bills legalizing sports betting have passed repeatedly in the Missouri House over the past few years, only to die in the Senate.”

He added: ”Therefore, as we are not optimistic that this pattern will change during the upcoming legislative session, we are currently proceeding with an initiative petition campaign to put the issue of legalized sports wagering on the ballot for Missouri voters in 2024, and, beginning this week, we are launching our campaign and will be collecting signatures to support this initiative petition.”

Legislation Stuck Between Sports Betting and Lottery Games:

As MI reports, the major obstacle to the sports betting launch is a competing form of gambling present in the state. Supporters of video lottery games available at gas stations and convenience stores throughout Missouri reportedly request the inclusion of video lottery machines in the sports betting bill. As this is not acceptable for sports wagering proponents, the prospective bill seems stuck in the middle of the situation. Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden reportedly said: “I don’t think anything is different this year one way or the other. I don’t know that it makes a tremendous difference in this chamber. Both sides are pretty entrenched.”

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$28.9 Million Annual Revenue Estimate:

Under the proposed amendments to the bill HB 2502 filed in April 2023, the six sports teams playing in arenas with at least 11,500 seats would be eligible for a sports gambling license, as well as the 13 land-based casino operators and two online sports wagering platforms. The bill would reportedly allow for bets to be placed either online or in person. As reported, the gross gaming revenue to be generated by sports wagering operations is estimated at around $28.9 million a year to generate tax revenues of 10 percent of the net gaming revenue. Also, the proposal includes a $5 million injection into the problem gaming fund with the remaining portion of the revenue to be funneled to public education programs.

According to the source, the campaign has been funded by FanDuel and DraftKing, the two leading online sports betting operators, with each platform contributing $250,000 to the campaign committee Winning for Missouri Education. The sports teams included in the coalition are the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis CITY SC, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, and the Kansas City Current, according to NPR. The same source reports that the organization has to gather between 171,592 and 188,537 signatures until May 8, 2024 to make the ballot. The number of votes reportedly needs to stand for 5 percent of the vote for governor in lg777 the latest elections in each of the state’s six districts.

Around $1.85 Billion Handle Expected:

As reported by MI, the Missouri sports wagering market could follow the Missouri Lottery and land-based casinos to reach around $1.8 billion or, respectively, $1.9 billion annual handle. The estimate is reportedly also based on the neighboring state of Kansas recording a $1.85 billion handle in the first year of sports betting launch in the state. Organizers of the campaign also said that the legalized sports wagering would regulate a black market in the state. They reportedly stated: “Recent estimates suggest that Missourians place roughly $2 billion a year in bets using offshore gaming websites, while other Missourians drive to neighboring states to place wagers.”

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