February 22, 2023 2 min read

Missouri pro sports teams join casinos in support of legalizing sports betting

Many of Missouri’s neighboring states, and 36 states overall, have legalized sports betting. Supporters say gambling can add to the excitement of sports, with state-sanctioned wagering creating a regulated experience with consumer protections. It would also create a new revenue source for businesses and the state.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is giving it’s support to legislation that would allow this.

SB 30, sponsored by Senator Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville), authorizes wagering on sporting events, including esports, and modifies the definition of “gambling game” to include sports wagering.

During a recent hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Luetkemeyer said, “Legalized sports betting comes with its own challenges, so it is critical that we adopt a framework that provides strong regulations and oversight to protect consumers and also benefit the state’s education system.”

One provision of the bill relates to compulsive gambling as it requires the state gaming commission to conduct a socio-economic study every five years on the impact of gaming. There would also be $500,000 going annually from the commission fund to the compulsive gamblers fund.

SB 30 also allows for the 13 river boat casinos operating in the state to designate areas for their retail sports book, and they are granted three mobile “skins” (which is the branded website or mobile app that river boat patrons would use to place bets online) per casino property with a maximum of six skins per casino company. Each of the six professional sports teams in Missouri would have one mobile skin.

“Most illegal sports betting occurs online and via mobile apps, so in order to compete with and crowd out the illegal market, this bill allows for online and mobile betting options in a properly licensed and regulated environment,” Luetkemeyer said. 

Among those testifying in favor of the bill was Bill DeWitt III, president of the St. Louis Cardinals. DeWitt noted that they have supported this effort for several years.

“We feel this is a bill that has a lot of stuff for everybody, but protects taxpayers,” DeWitt said. “One of the downsides of the delay is that fans haven’t been able to do (online betting). However, one of the good sides is that we have learned from other states, and we’ve tweaked it to make it more reflective of the market that is out there.”

Missouri Chamber Director of Legislative Affairs Phillip Arnzen testified in support of SB 30.

For more information, contact Arnzen at parnzen@mochamber.com or call (573) 634-3511.

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