Several members of the Missouri Legislature left this year’s session with frustration after bills to legalize sports betting failed to pass. They blamed Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, for blocking these bills.

Hoskins told Missourinet he supports the legalization of sports betting but he said it has to be “the right bill” for sports betting to pass in Missouri.

“We’ll see if we can work through those concerns that I have to make sure that it’s not just the casinos getting rich and everyone else getting hurt here in the state before we pass it,” said Hoskins.

A large part of the disagreement was over the regulation of video lottery machines found in many Missouri bars, restaurants, and truck stops. Hoskins said the machines are a form of gambling and should be included and taxed in sports betting bills. Some other lawmakers disagree.

“Sports book will bring zero dollars into our small businesses and sports book doesn’t bring any money into our veterans homes and cemeteries,” Hoskins said.

His sports betting bill would have taxed video lottery machines and designated some of the funding for veterans homes and cemeteries.

The fight to legalize sports betting in Missouri could soon turn to an initiative petition effort. When deciding whether to fight or give it, Hoskins said he somewhat considered that the casinos could end up tweaking the proposed tax rate and keep more money if they get the issue on the ballot.

“You know, the fees that they’ve talked about and has been in their bills before would be a 10% tax. Well, you know, New York has a 51% tax on their sports book and, you know, we had heard stories that oh, the casinos and sports book, they won’t have it in New York with a tax rate of 51% when New York is doing very well,” said Hoskins.

Hoskins also said casinos should pay for any problems that sports betting causes, including compulsive gambling.

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