Missouri’s Sports Betting Market Has Potential but Smooth Rollout Is Needed

As the gambling industry grows, several states continue pushing for the legalization of sports betting. Missouri is one step ahead of other jurisdictions as a recent bill may soon usher in sports wagering in the state.

Missouri Is Still Indecisive about Sports Betting Taxation

The Missouri Senate continues to discuss House Bill 2502 and fine-tune its details. The bill will allow the state’s casinos to offer sports betting offerings. The bill will also legalize mobile sports betting although it will be available only to bettors in Missouri.

The biggest challenge is to decide on an appropriate tax rate as well as what to do with the tax revenues. Other states usually use the tax money to fund charity causes, public education, etc. Missouri lawmakers envision a tax rate of somewhere between 8% and 21% and some have proposed to use the money to finance gambling addiction relief programs. Analysts have predicted that the hypothetical sports betting market in Missouri may yield as much as $10 million in taxes and help to fund a variety of causes.

Senator Denny Hoskins, however, is skeptical about the current version of the bill. He argued that the legalization of sports betting will increase the gambling harm rates and will force the Missouri government to spend more on helping problem gamblers. Hoskins proposed a version where the state would impose the highest tax rates possible and rake in $163 million in taxes. Other representatives doubt that this number is realistically feasible.

Kansas is another state which may soon launch its own sports betting market. Its senator, Lincoln Hough, supports Missouri’s bill as he argues that forcing bettors to drive hundreds of miles just to place a bet is unfair.

Wallach Said Missouri Might Become One of the Biggest Markets

Daniel Wallach, an attorney who works in the gambling industry, has praised HB 2502, saying that Missouri is about to have one of the best sports betting markets. As one who is intimately familiar with the sector, Wallach elaborated:

It (Missouri’s sports betting market) will have among the highest number of licenses, as well as direct participation by the professional sports teams. You have 52 points of distribution for sports betting, you’ve got the 13 bricks and mortar casinos and you’ve got 39 online sports betting licenses.

Daniel Wallach, an attorney who works in the gambling industry

However, Wallach added that the scale of Missouri’s upcoming market is exactly what will slow it down compared to Kansas. Issuing numerous licenses is going to take a while and will likely open a lot of work to the local Gambling Commission. Despite that, Wallach emphasized that quality is more important than rushing the launch, no matter how profitable launching around September might be.

Wallach is optimistic about the bill and believed it will pass before the end of the legislative season on May 13. While others are anxious about the tax rate discussions, the attorney is convinced that an agreement will be reached and that tax by itself is not a “deal-breaker.” Wallach concluded that he is excited that local bettors will finally have a legal and regulated alternative when it comes to sports betting.

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