Looking at the Latest Sports Betting Bill Introduced in Missouri

Missouri legislators are following through on promises made last month that they would be seriously considering the sports betting issue in 2019. The state’s latest sports betting bill was prefiled on January 7th and seeks to legalize both in-person and online betting.

Credit goes to SportsHandle.com for bringing this story to our attention.

The bill, SB 222, was introduced by Senator Lincoln Hough and looks like a positive start for those who would like to see a vibrant and competitive sports betting market in Missouri. Reasonable taxes and fees, mobile betting, no integrity fee and no in-person registration requirement all make this bill a major improvement over a different proposal we first saw last month.

A bill (SB 44) prefiled last month for the 2019 session also called for in-person wagering, online wagering, set a $10,000 application fee and called for a $5,000 annual fee just like the bill unveiled more recently.

However, last month’s bill featured a few spoilers that made it a significantly less exciting prospect than the one introduced more recently. Where SB 44 called for a 0.5% integrity fee and would have required customers to register in-person at a casino before betting online, SB 222 features no such provisions.

Under SB 222, interested operators would be able to apply for a sports betting license after submitting an application along with a $10,000 application fee. Thereafter, operators would be on the hook for a $5,000 annual renewal fee. An additional $10,000 fee would be assessed once every five years to cover a reinvestigation to ensure continued suitability.

SB 222 also comes with a lower tax rate of just 6.75% on adjusted gross receipts, which are defined as the total value of wagers taken in minus the value of winnings paid out. This is in comparison to the 12% tax and 2% administrative fee called for in SB 44.

What Else is Found in Missouri’s Latest Sports Betting Bill

Other items found in the latest Missouri sports betting bill include numerous provisions directing the Gaming Commission to issue regulations governing a variety of security and responsible gambling issues such as:

  • Standards for the conduct of sports betting
  • The manners in which wagers are received, payouts paid and how the odds are disclosed
  • Standards governing how licensed operators may conduct online/mobile betting in Missouri or in other states with which Missouri has a reciprocal sports betting agreement
  • The types of records that must be kept and how those records are maintained
  • Standards related to detecting and acting on signs of problem gambling
  • Locations in a casino in which sports betting may be conducted
  • Security standards for online wagering platforms
  • Standards by which licensed operators are to prevent people under 21 years from participating
  • Prevent advertising directed at minors, ineligible customers and other vulnerable persons
  • How resources and information for problem gambling are to be provided to customers

SB 2222 also authorizes partnerships between licensed operators in Missouri and third-party software developers for online and mobile betting. This is similar to the approach taken in New Jersey, which allows land-based casinos such as Resorts to partner with online providers such as DraftKings.

Under the bill, third-party software providers would also have to undergo a background investigation and be licensed before providing their services to existing MO casinos. Just like licensed operators, platform providers would be required to pay a $10,000 application fee along with an ongoing annual fee of $5,000.

With multiple bills in play, Missouri is running into 2019 as a legitimate contender to legalize sports betting in 2019. There is still a long way to go, of course, with these bills just barely being introduced, but so far Missouri is off to a good start.