Professional sports teams in Missouri have come together to push for the legalization of sports betting in the state. They are bypassing the Senate and instead aiming to get the issue on the November ballot for voters to decide.
This is not the first time that efforts have been made to legalize sports betting in Missouri, but previous attempts have not gained much momentum. However, the teams are determined to try again, believing that responsible sports betting would bring numerous benefits to the sports industry, its fans, and the state.
Missouri is currently one of the few states that has not yet legalized sports betting, while the majority of states have done so since the repeal of the PASPA in 2018. Vermont recently joined the trend by launching sports betting, and North Carolina is also set to legalize wagering by the summer.
Despite this, the remaining dozen states where sports betting is not yet legal are likely to face challenges due to the current political and economic climate.
The initiative to legalize sports betting in Missouri has garnered support from major local teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs, the Kansas City Current, the Kansas City Royals, the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and St. Louis City. Additionally, major gambling companies DraftKings and FanDuel have each contributed $250,000 to create a campaign committee in support of the initiative.
The teams are actively gathering signatures from sports fans across the state in order to qualify the measure for the November ballot. If approved, the measure would allow Missouri’s 13 casinos and six professional sports teams to offer both retail and online sports betting. The measure also designates that teams would have control over sports betting and advertising within 400 yards of their stadiums, and it would allow for two mobile sports betting operators to apply for online wagering licenses.
The legalization of sports betting is projected to generate approximately $5 million in licensing fees annually. The funds generated would then be used to support various initiatives, including problem gambling treatment and state education. The measure also outlines that sports betting would be live by December 1, 2025.