Kansas Signs Regulated Online Sports Gambling into Law; Missouri Could Follow
The development of online sports gambling and other forms of betting in the United States continues to evolve, as more states move closer to supporting regulated and legalized wagering. Kansas has become the latest state to permit this form of gambling, and Missouri looks like it could be the next. Missouri already has a regulated gambling market, made up of the 13 riverboat casinos – overseen by six casino operators – that are licensed to trade within the state. However, the Missouri House has now voted to extend this, and to make online sports betting legal in Missouri.
The House was voting on a bill that would permit retail sports betting firms to operate within the state, directing increased revenue straight to Missouri’s tax coffers. The first-round vote resulted in approval for the bill – a major step on the way to full legal recognition. Under the terms of this bill, in-person sports betting will be provided at the state’s 13 casinos, and 39 online skins will be created to support mobile betting on sporting events. Of these 39 skins, 33 will be operated and managed by the six casino operators licensed in Missouri. This leaves six skins left over, allowing each of Missouri’s six professional sports teams to operate one skin for themselves.
Missouri Loses the Race Against Neighboring Kansas
Neighboring state Kansas also put forward a bill to make sports gambling legal, and initially seemed to be operating on a similar timeframe to Missouri. As a result, there has been much comparison between the two proposed bills, with Representative Wes Rogers attempting to add an amendment to the bill in Missouri, reducing the tax rate to fall below that of Kansas. This would see the tax rate for sports gambling reduced from 10% to 8%, compared to 10% in Kansas.
“Missouri is a better state than Kansas in every possible way,” Rep. Rogers said, putting forward a sentiment that is probably not shared in the state of Kansas itself. “Our tax rate should be lower.”
However, in May 2022, Kansas won the race to legalize online sports betting, leaving Missouri in its wake. On May 12, Governor Laura Kelly signed sports betting into Kansas State law, in a move that may disappoint those Missourian politicians and gambling operators who hoped to get there first. Meanwhile, the Missouri bill has hit some friction and resistance on the way to legalization.
Continued Optimism in Missouri
Despite being defeated in the race to make online sports gambling legal in yet another USA jurisdiction, the mood continues to be optimistic in Missouri. With so many success stories emerging across the country, state legislators are tuning in to the possibilities offered by sports gambling.
These possibilities include a more dynamic domestic market and a better environment for business investment. In addition, regulation of online sports gambling results in direct tax revenue increases for the state government itself. All of this suggests that Missouri will not be far behind its neighbor in regulated sportsbook gaming.