A Missouri state senator wants to see gambling expansion in the state, preparing bills for regulating video lottery terminals (VLTs), as well as the introduction of sports betting, esports, and horse racing.
Regulate and Tax Video Lottery Terminals
State Sen. Denny Hoskins, a long-time gaming proponent in Missouri, is looking to regulate and tax VLT operations in 2022 and provide another source of state funds to support education. According to estimations, taxing video terminals could raise around $250 million per year that would go for K-12 education and veterans’ homes.
Following a case in Platte County in which two such machines located at Parkville convenience store were found to be violating state gambling laws by a judge, Sen. Hoskins believes the state needs to regulate the business and is eager to see a final court solution.
Comparing Missouri with Illinois, where currently there are 8,000 locations housing 40,000 machines which bring the state $1.6 billion in tax revenue, Hoskins confirmed his plans to pre-file legislation in December.
Sen. Hoskins, who chairs the Senate Economic Development Committee, will also love to see Missouri introduce legislation for pari-mutuel horse wagering as 60% of state voters approved these types of horse racing wagers in 1984. He believes pari-mutuel horse racing should complement VLT operations, suggesting Missouri should adopt the same approach other states already did.
“Several other states do have horse racing in their state. And what they’ve done is they’ve combined horse racing with video lottery terminals, with Sportsbook and things like that.”Sen. Denny Hoskins
Gambling Expansion Bill
The lawmaker is also planning to pre-file for Missouri’s 2022 legislative session legislation for sportsbook, with a provision for wagering on eSports events, as the interest in this type of video gaming is surging in states where it was legalized.
“Some states have even built esports stadiums in order to host many of these game tournaments. And so, I could see that being a huge industry coming into the state of Missouri.”Sen. Denny Hoskins
Hoskins predicts sportsbook operations have the potential to contribute to the state coffers with about $20 million annually. But his proposals are likely to face strong opposition from another state senator, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, who believes taxing VLT operations will legitimize illegal video terminals which he compares to “a tax on most poor people”.
The 2022 legislative season in Missouri is starting on December 1, 2021, in Jefferson City, and Hoskins, which represents 8 counties in the western, central, and northwest state, Caldwell, Carroll, Howard, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ray, and Saline, believes he will be successful with his legislative efforts.