Missouri’s Proposed Sports Betting Bill Might Include a Higher Tax Rate

The Missouri sports wagering bill has passed in the state House last month, but now, it is highly likely that a higher tax rate will be included, if it is debated and passed in the state Senate. Although a specific number wasn’t revealed, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Dan Hegeman, stated that he wants it to be higher than 8%.

Committee Members Were Also Displeased with the House Bill

Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) was also displeased with the low tax rate. He stated that his bill, which included a 21% tax rate, estimates that the annual revenue will be around $153 million. The current House Bill, whose tax rate is 8% will bring in about $10 million each year and it includes promotional cost deductions.

Hoskins argued that his bill would provide the state with a major difference, while the House bill will give casinos the advantage. The only state that has a lower tax rate than the proposed bill in Missouri is Iowa. The tax rate here stands at 6.75%.

Additionally, Hoskins argues that the problem gambling funding is not enough. State Rep. Dan Houx spoke to the committee and said that the bill promotes efforts that will lead to the creation of gambling problem awareness and self-exclusion systems. Casinos and vendors providing gambling services will additionally have to submit a plan to address problem gambling and get educated on the indicators that lead to problem gambling with players.

According to Hoskins, the $250,000 that is devoted to the problem gambling fund is just too low, especially when the fact that other states devote millions is taken into consideration.

The Bill Is a Result of Negotiations between Casino Operators and Sports Teams

Sports organizations have supported legal sports betting recently and such is the case with the current bill. Some of the teams that spoke in support of the House bill on Wednesday include the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals.

Bill DeWitt III, the president of the Cardinals and the Missouri Pro Sports Team Coalition, stated that all teams support sports betting in the state as a “way to increase engagement” with the fans. Not only that, but he considers this to provide fans with a new and exciting way to enjoy sports. The Missouri Pro Sports Team Coalition consists of the Cardinals and Chiefs, as well as KC Current, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Blues, and St. Louis City Soccer Club.

One additional topic during the committee was the potential Kansas City Chiefs’ move to Kansas. Anne Scharf, who spoke on the behalf of the Chiefs, did her best to quiet down the speculation but spoke briefly about the latest developments.

She said that the reports of a new destination for the Chiefs aren’t exactly something new and that the franchise is considering all options. One of the reasons why a move is considered is the state of Arrowhead Stadium, which was built in 1972. Scharf stated that the Chiefs’ lease for the stadium will last for 9 more years and that the franchise will honor the agreement.

Hoskins also expressed his concerns over this issue as HB2502 will distribute 39 sports betting licenses among the 13 casinos in Missouri and the professional sports teams. He thinks that there’s no point in giving the Chiefs a sports betting license if the franchise intends to leave the state. Hoskins noted that language, which will prevent a team from leaving Missouri if it receives a license, should be included in the bill.

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