JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers plan to make another attempt at legalizing sports betting just months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that has restricted most states from allowing bets on sports.
The Missouri Legislature will likely consider joining at least six other states that have started offering wagers on sporting events, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“I certainly anticipate it being out there for discussion before the House and the Senate,” said Republican Rep. Dean Plocher, who sponsored legislation last spring to legalize sports betting that didn’t advance.
Plocher said that multiple drafted bills have been circulating since the high court’s decision.
A spokesman for Gov. Mike Parson said the governor isn’t leading the call for sports wagering in Missouri, but isn’t opposed to the idea.
Sports betting could bring between $18 million and $40 million annually to the state in new revenue, according to Republican Sen. Denny Hoskins.
Missouri law specifies that state revenue from casino gambling must be spent on educational programs. Casinos would run sports betting, so the revenue would also be required to go to schools, unless state law is changed.
Legislation debated last spring included a request by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals to have an “integrity fee,” which would be used to offset any increased expenses that might come from sports betting. But opponents have argued that the fee isn’t necessary since sports leagues already bring in more money from fan engagement.
Plocher supports a fee, but said that it’s important to find a “sweet spot” for both the casinos and the leagues.
Hoskins called the fee divisive, but said he plans to review how other states are handling the issue.