Missouri sports betting bill stalls in Senate

The chances of Missouri legalising sports betting this year are getting slimmer.
The chances of Missouri legalising sports betting this year are getting slimmer.

The issue of video gaming terminals could stop the bill from moving forward.

US.- With less than two weeks left in the 2022 legislative session, the odds of Missouri legalising sports betting this year are dwindling. Missouri senators have opted not to vote on the House-approved sports betting bill that would legalise in-person and online sports gambling.

It’s all because of the issue of video lottery terminals. Senator Mike Bernskoetter has introduced an amendment to HB 2502 that seeks to remove the part of the bill that would allow an additional 5,000 video lottery terminals (VLT), his argument being that the state already has enough unregulated “gray machines” available.

However, senator Denny Hoskins is convinced that the implementation of VLT’s would serve to reduce the increasing presence of unregulated machines, which he says undermine player protection standards. He also believes that VLT’s would generate $45m per annum in gross gaming revenue.

In the Senate’s version of the bill, 5,000 video lottery games would be allowed with no more than seven per location in truck stops, fraternal and veterans clubs, and the entertainment districts around the six sports venues where the state’s professional teams play.

“They have to be in a separate, enclosed room and that room is under consent video surveillance, it’s connected to a centralized system and only 21 and older can be in that room,” Hoskins explained.

The amended bill would also increases the wagering tax to 10 per cent.

HB 2502, introduced by Republican Dan Houx, is the bill that has made it the furthest in five years of failed legislation. It was introduced on January 19 and would allow both online and retail sports betting. If it passes the Senate, the House will need to concur with any changes made on the Senate floor. Missouri’s current legislative session is scheduled to end on May 13.

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Missouri sports betting