Missouri’s 2019 session will be filled with numerous discussions, including those on the collection of sales taxes on online purchases, a legislative redistricting and allowing sports gambling. The Republican-led legislature will start its five-month annual session on Wednesday.
Last year’s Supreme Court ruling striking down PASPA will allow Missouri to legalize sports betting in the state. Several states have already legalized sports betting or are considering the option. However, operators and sports leagues are not on the same page about sharing profits. Whereas, there is a possibility that Sen. Schumer and Sen. Hatch’s federal sports gambling regulation could pass.
Sports leagues in the country want a cut of the profits, calling them integrity fee. They suggest that such a fee would help them ensure that games are not manipulated by players. Mike Winter, executive director of Missouri Gaming Association believes otherwise, calling the fee unwarranted. He noted that the leagues should already be supporting the functions without needing to be paid a fee.
Acting House Speaker Elijah Haahr said that he isn’t optimistic about a sports betting bill advancing in the legislature unless the two parties agree. However, Sen. Dan Hegeman said that the general ideas of a sports gambling proposal would likely surface in the bills tabled this season.
Sen. Denny Hoskins has pre-filed legislation in the house to allow sports gambling in the state and Hegeman believes that a 2018 fiscal note prepared for the initial bill created by Hoskins suggests that the state could earn $18 million in revenue with sports wagers. About $15 million of these funds can be used for education while another $3 million could go to the Missouri Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund.
The legislature will be looking into the idea of integrity fee and the damage it would do the state’s gross sports betting receipts. Hegeman further noted that there could be some people who want casinos and sports betting tied with the casinos. It could be helpful in reducing the instances of illegal gambling. Rep. Rusty Black also backs the decision.