2020 was a huge year for the United States sports betting industry, and 2021 is expected to be much of the same. Several states are expected to explore the idea of legalizing sports betting, and Missouri is near the top of the list.
There was an attempt to get a bill passed in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic cut the legislative session short. It was unclear as to how much support the sports betting bills had before the pause, but several lawmakers and industry experts have expressed optimism.
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The COVID-19 pandemic could also be a driving force to help get new legislation passed as the state is dealing with a huge budget deficit. That, coupled with the fact that several states in the Midwest now have sports betting, will give lawmakers plenty of ammo when they are looking to generate support for their bills.
Missouri doesn’t have a huge professional sports presence, but there are enough teams in the state and surrounding states that would help drive the industry. Illinois is currently capitalizing on sports bettors from the St. Louis area, and Missouri will be looking to keep that revenue in the state in the coming years.
Number of Bills Filed
There are already three different bills pre-filed by a trio of Missouri state senators in hopes that one of the bills will get through. Senators Denny Hoskins, Tony Luetkemeyer, and Caleb Rowden will all have their bills discussed when the legislature first meets in January.
All of the bills will legalize both online and retail sports betting, but the total cost of licensing fees and the tax rates are different with each bill. All three men acknowledge that some amendments need to be made, but there is hope that the legislature will be able to combine the bills to come up with a solution.
Pressure to Keep Up
Missouri is now surrounded by other states with legalized sports betting, and that is taking money away from the state. Illinois has turned into a giant sports betting market, and states such as Arkansas, Iowa and Tennessee have the industry as well.
Oklahoma and Nebraska are also looking to legalize sports betting in 2021, putting even more pressure on the Show Me State. Missouri has already studied the positive effects of sports betting, and the state now needs money more than ever.
2022 Launch a Possibility
Even if state lawmakers are able to get a sports betting bill passed at some point in 2021, the possibility of launching this year is unlikely. Missouri is basically being forced to start from scratch when it comes to legislation, even though a number of bills have been pre-filed.
The pressure put on Missouri from the other states in the Midwest will likely allow the state to legalize sports betting, but don’t expect any wagers to be placed. 2022 seems like the perfect target launch date for Missouri, but there is still plenty of work left to be done.