A bill to legalize sports betting in Missouri has been referred back to a committee for review after it had been placed on the Senate calendar for a final reading and possible passage.
House Bill 2502, sponsored by Republican Representative Dan Houx, was referred back to the Senate Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee (GAFO) for further analysis.
A committee hearing on the bill is scheduled for Monday (April 25). It is unclear if the committee will vote on the measure sending the bill back for a Senate floor vote.
“The GAFO Committee is much like the House equivalent of Fiscal Review,” Ed Vought, legislative assistant to Houx, told VIXIO GamblingCompliance on Friday (April 22).
“Generally speaking, bills with a financial impact of net revenue/expense (of) $100,000 or with new penalty provisions, have to go through those committees before going to the floor. HB 2502 is net revenue positive greater than that amount.”
Vought said officials in Houx's office were “reasonably confident it will be on the Senate floor this week,” but the length and breadth of potential amendments remains a mystery.
The current proposal is backed by a coalition that includes all of Missouri’s major professional sports teams, several major national sports-betting operators and five of the state’s six casino operators.
Boyd Gaming is the lone holdout, as the company is opposed to the inclusion of a requirement for operators to use official league data to settle in-play wagers.
The bill would allow three online skins for each of the state’s 13 casinos, although operators that own multiple properties in Missouri would be capped at six total skins.
Each of the professional sports teams would also receive a single online wagering skin.
Lawmakers are still split over how to tax the industry, with Republican Senator Dan Hegeman, who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, among a group of senators who support raising the Missouri House’s proposed sports-betting tax rate of 8 percent.
The bill that passed the House last month also includes promotional play deductions that phase out over four years, starting at 100 percent deductibility in the first year and declining by 25 percent each year.
An online sports-betting license would require an initial application fee of $150,00, and then a renewal fee of $125,000 one year later. A retail sports-betting license would require an initial application fee of $100,000.
An 8 percent tax rate would be one of the lowest in the nation. The House of Representative passed an amendment that lowered the tax rate from 10 percent as proposed in a Kansas sports-betting bill.
Meanwhile, Senate Bill 84 in Kansas is expected to pass after lawmakers return to Topeka on Monday (April 25) following a three-week break, Republican Senate President Ty Masterson told KCMO radio.
“I think the latest version of the bill that came across from the House … probably will cross the line,” Masterson said in an April 5 interview.
Masterson said he understands there are opponents to legalizing sports betting but anticipates that when lawmakers come back the issue will not be a big deal.
In Missouri, a final agreement between lawmakers could set the tax rate between the bill’s original 10 percent and 21 percent, which is the rate in a proposal by Republican Senator Denny Hoskins.
Hegeman also supports adding additional problem gambling language to the bill to add more protections for gamblers.
The bill was approved by the Missouri House of Representatives in late March by a vote of 115-33.
“Depending on what comes back over, we can request it go to a Joint Conference Committee to try to resolve the differences,” Vought told VIXIO. “Failing to do so and it’s dead for this session.”
Missouri’s legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 30.