Three Republican senators have filed three similar bills, all of which are aimed at legalizing sports betting in the state of Missouri.
The three senators are:
Sen. Caleb Rowden sponsor of SB 256
Sen. Denny Hoskins sponsor of SB 18
Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer sponsor of SB 217
While all three bills relate to online and mobile sports betting, there are slight differences between the first two mentioned above in terms of tax rates.
SB 256 proposes a tax rate of 6.75% which would put Missouri on a par with Iowa as the state with the lowest sports betting tax.
SB 18 proposes a higher tax rate of 9%.
SB 217 differs in that it compels operators to use official sports league data.
All three senators have said that they hope the tax generated from a regulated sports betting industry would go directly to education. Their estimates put this figure at around $50 million per year.
Speaking of his bill, Sen. Caleb Rowden said:
“In my view, there’s really not much of a reason not to do it at this point. It’s already happening. We might as well legalize what’s already happening and make a little money off of it.”
However, during his statement Sen. Denny Hoskins chose instead to criticize SB 256’s low tax rate saying:
“I just believe that we’re leaving a little bit too much money on the table for education,”
Although one person has testified against the bills, the senators have received a lot of support both from industry figures and the general public.
Mike Winter of the Missouri Gaming Association said:
“All of this is taking place in the illegal market now. We’re trying to bring it out of the illegal market, bring it into a legal regulated environment where we can be assured that bets are handled proper, consumers are treated fairly, and those who have issues with gambling cannot participate.”
The news has been welcomed by the state’s casino operators who would prefer sports betting over the hotly contested video lottery terminals (VLTs) that Sen. Hoskins proposed legalizing in a previous bill.