A proposed bill to legalize sports wagering in Missouri is set to begin its journey through the state legislature this week. Sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx (R-Warrensburg), the bill, HB 2331, will be the subject of a hearing by the Missouri House Special Committee on Public Policy.

This legislation is part of ongoing efforts to bring sports betting to Missouri, one of twelve states where it is currently illegal. If passed, the bill would permit the state’s 13 riverboat casinos to accept sports bets and would also allow mobile sportsbook operators to accept bets from internet users within the state.

A detailed fiscal analysis released ahead of the hearing estimates that legal sports betting could generate around $7 million in new education funding in its first year, with that number rising to $35 million by 2029. The bill proposes a 10% tax on sportsbooks’ adjusted gross receipts, with operators able to deduct promotional bets from that calculation. The tax deduction for promotional bets would phase out over four years.

The bill also includes provisions aimed at addressing the potential for increased compulsive gambling, with regulators expected to conduct research into the neuroscience, psychology, sociology, epidemiology, and etiology of compulsive gambling. The bill would require a $500K contribution to the state Compulsive Gamblers Fund, subject to legislative appropriations.

The future of the bill is uncertain, with similar efforts stalling in the state Capitol in recent years. However, there is renewed hope from state senators, with Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Buchanan) filing a separate bill that would take a similar approach to legalizing sports betting in the state.

Furthermore, Missouri’s professional sports teams, such as the St. Louis Cardinals, are advocating for a ballot measure that would let voters decide the future of sports wagering in the state. As the bill moves through the legislative process, the fate of sports betting in Missouri remains to be seen.

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