It’s noticeable when you look at a map of the US highlighting states which have legalized gambling, that those states which have already taken the plunge are often clustered together. New York and New Jersey are twinned by legal sports betting, as is the majority of New England – with Vermont, the lone holdout, expected to make its move within the next year. Colorado and New Mexico are joined by the Raton Pass and also by their enjoyment of legal sports betting. And so, it looks increasingly inevitable that one of the states to adopt betting in 2023 will be Missouri, neighbor of recent sports betting adopter Kansas.
Whatever other reasons there are for Missouri lawmakers to support liberalized sports betting, there can be little denying that the most emphatic argument currently being made is that congresspeople are growing increasingly tired of voters coming up to them and asking “When are you going to get sports betting done? I’m tired of having to drive to Kansas to place a bet.”. This argument has been cited by multiple lawmakers including Denny Hoskins, a Republican senator who has produced a bill to legalize and tax sports betting in the state. According to Hoskins, the Bill has a solid chance of passing, and to listen to his fellow lawmakers is to be convinced that he’s correct.
One of the most relevant statistics in the current debate over legal sports betting in Missouri is the 104,000 attempts to bet that were foiled in the first week of Kansas betting. Those bets failed because they were attempted in Missouri, with some bettors perhaps mistakenly assuming that betting had been legalized in Kansas City, which is in Missouri state. Other prospective bettors may have felt that their bets would pass because they were close enough to Kansas. What they definitely proved, though, is that there is an audience for sports betting in Missouri, and that legislators looking to pass it may be pushing at an open door.
State lawmakers also point to another number, the 2.4 million bets that were successfully placed in Kansas in the first two weeks of betting becoming legal there. Taxes collected on those bets will go into the Kansas state treasury and can be used for improvements that would be very welcome in the state. Even if a lawmaker is skeptical as to the utility of legal betting per se, it is very easy to make the argument that much of the betting currently happening in Kansas represents money walking across state lines to deposit itself in a neighboring state when it could be making a difference in Missouri.
Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle in Missouri have been open in their willingness to present bills and sponsor any bill that is brought forward. With Sen Hoskins now making the move to present a bill that will come before congress early in the New Year, it seems as though Missouri will be taking a definitive step sooner rather than later.