MO Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder Says Sports Wagering Battle also “Frustrating” Sports Betting Legislation Never Reached Missouri Senate Floor State Neighbor Kansas Launches Legal Sports Betting in January 2023
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MO Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder Says Sports Wagering Battle also “Frustrating”
Missouri’s legislative session ended last month with no forward progress on passing a bill to legalize sports betting in the Show Me State, a failure to act as lawmakers that state Senator Holly Thompson Rehder has called “ridiculous” and “frustrating” as time keeps ticking away. Every month Missouri waits to launch a legal sport gambling market, millions of dollars in tax-related revenue and potential industry benefits are lost. Residents bettors move on to unregulated or illegal sportsbooks.
According to Sen. Thompson Rehder, the opposition to moving forward on this potentially lucrative issue comes from a clear source, telling the media:
From what I saw, you had the casinos pushing back. Because people are territorial, I understand that nobody would want to lose their money. It was impossible.
An understandable reaction from the only game in town, but the casinos can’t keep sports betting out of Missouri forever, though so far they are doing a pretty effective job of it.
Sports Betting Legislation Has Never Reached Missouri Senate The idea to legalize sports betting was floated around Missouri’s Congress in three versions. This is a difficult step because the language must outline the regulations for such an operation.
A major issue in Missouri’s debates was whether or not a bill to legalize sports betting should also include VLT (video lottery terminals), which are known as “gray machines”. These machines, which either require skill or chance depending on your question, were a problem for many legislators.
Most state legislators, like Thompson Rehder, were excluded from the debate on the sports betting bill. The Senator admitted that he was not in closed-doors discussing sports betting “because that’s not what I do,” which keeps the talks from being politically inclusive.
The bill never made it to the Senate floor this session, for reasons that representatives Rick Francis suspect could have been avoided, saying:
It got close, real close, this year. While the Senate tried for a couple of things in the final week to pass the bill, they couldn’t do it.
Meanwhile, Missouri’s closest state neighbor is gunning for their action.
State Neighbor Kansas Launches Legal Sports Betting in January 2023
Starting in 2023, Kansas will launch its own legal sports betting market, and as we have reported in the past that state has a solitary purpose: to steal the pro teams from Missouri by offering them a sweeter legal-sports-betting-based deal in nearby Kansas.
Missouri Representative Jamie Burger sees the bigger picture and understands why a legal sports betting market is inevitable in his state, saying:
I support (sports betting) wholeheartedly. Our revenues are being lost to the surrounding states, and I believe we have a need for them in Missouri.
He makes a solid argument since MO residents can travel to Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee, Iowa, and soon Nebraska to place legal sports bets, so all that handle and potential tax revenue is being shipped out of state, an income stream that over thirty other states are now enjoying.
Missouri’s legislature is not scheduled to meet until next year, so nothing can get done until then, but keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.