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Missouri sports betting bill passes first House vote

Missouri gambling news

The state of Missouri has inched closer to legalizing sports betting with the House of Representatives giving a first-round vote of approval to two gambling bills.

HB 556 and HB 581, which are sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx and Rep. Phil Christofanelli, would legalize both digital and retail sports betting in the state. The legislation would also allow betting on both professional and college sports with a tax of 10% on wagering operators. 

Tax from the betting system would be channeled to the state’s education fund, while a minimum of $500,000 would be committed towards responsible gambling programs. The Missouri Gaming Commission would be responsible for supervising the industry.

If passed, the legislation will bring the Show-Me State in line with its neighbors when it comes to legalized sports betting. Six of the eight states bordering Missouri now have regulated betting industries, with Kentucky and Oklahoma the odd ones out, although lawmakers in both states are currently considering the issue.

Speaking on legalizing sports betting in Missouri, Christofanelli said, “Everyone is doing this on their phones illegally in the state of Missouri right now. Quite frankly, we’re looking a little silly.”

Previous efforts to pass a similar bill were filibustered in the Senate. With Senator Denny Hoskins still advocating for sports betting to be linked with the legalization of video lottery terminals, there is a possibility these news bills might suffer a similar fate.

However, Houx has said he is open to a higher tax rate if it is necessary for the proposal to gain approval from the Senate.

“We’re going to find a happy medium,” he said
The legislation will require a second round of voting before it can be sent to the Senate.

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