Missouri bill seeks to legalize sports betting

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JEFFERSON CITY — Lawmakers are taking another shot at legalizing sports gambling, just a few months after the United States Supreme Court struck down on a ban on sports betting. 

Since then, eight states have legalized sports gambling. If Missouri were to do the same, the state could make upwards of $20 million each year from sports betting, according to the senator sponsoring the bill.

Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, said he thinks it's something his constituents and other Missourians want.

"When I went back to some of my friends back in my district and I told them I had a bill to legalize sports betting, many of them picked up their phone and said, 'Well what do you mean it's illegal? I already do that on my phone.'" he said.

Hoskins said the economic benefit would be great for the Show Me State. Here's how he would allocate some of the revenue, if his bill were to pass:

  • 12 percent tax toward education
  • 2 percent administrative fee toward veterans homes and cemeteries
  • An integrity fee, which would go toward the Entertainment Infrastructure Capital Improvement Fund. Essentially, a fund that goes toward improving stadiums to enhance Missourians' sports experiences. 

With the Super Bowl on Sunday, the eight states that have legal sports betting will be extracting revenue. Hoskins said he couldn't hypothesize how much Missouri would make from the Super Bowl alone, but estimates Missouri do well overall.

"There would be a lot of tax revue that could help out education, our veterans and infrastructure at those sporting facilities," he said. 

Mark McDonough is one of the estimated 22 million Americans who will bet on the Super Bowl this year.

"It makes games more exciting when you have money on the line," McDonough said. "Obviously, you like to win more money, so cashing it out at the end of the week is always fun." 

Hoskins said roughly 1.3 million Missourians already participate in sports gambling.

McDonough said the state might as well reap the benefits of gambling since it goes on regardless.

"Just like anything else, people are still gonna do it. If they're doing it legally, they're just gonna make more money off of it," he said.