A Missouri Senate committee on Tuesday advanced sports betting legislation to full-floor debate, with pending issues still to be settled with the version already passed by the House of Representatives. The Senate floor debate could take place as early as this week.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 8-1 to move HB 2502 and HB 2556 to Senate floor votes, concluding each bill’s journey through legislative committees. However, before the full-chamber takes up either, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Hegeman will produce a substitute bill that ups the 8% tax rate passed by the House, in efforts to see more funding earmarked for problem gambling. While he didn’t specify a rate, he did note that the bill started with a 10% tax and that sports betting legislation introduced in the Senate has set it at a comparably higher 21%.
Another point in regards to the House bill that was questioned during committee hearings is revenues estimates. Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, noted that in his 21% tax rate version of the bill revenues of $153 million a year were anticipated, while the House proposal included estimates of about $10 million annually, with about $500,000 annually to address problem gambling. Additionally, he said that by setting the rate at 21% —the tax casinos currently pay on their net profits—, the state would get the difference while in the House bill, “the casinos would get the difference.”
The rest of the enacting legislation would legalize retail and online sports betting, with up to 39 separate sportsbooks for the state’s 13 casinos and six professional sports teams. Under bills passed by the House in March, each casino would be eligible for up to three online skins. The House bills also allow operators to deduct revenue from promotional bets from their taxable revenue, phased out over five years.
The House bill has received support from both casinos and pro sports teams in the state. If approved, the bill would allow guests to bet on college and pro sports, while banning wagering on prep sports. The proposal would also require gaming platforms to use official league data for settling bets, a provision that had been publicly opposed by Boyd Gaming.
Lawmakers have until May 13, the last day of Missouri’s 2022 session, to agree on and pass an identical bill.