Sports betting is once again being discussed at the Missouri State Capitol as lawmakers consider a proposal from state Rep. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg. It’s happening as the Kansas City Chiefs go to the Super Bowl and Missourians are left out from being able to place bets on their home team.

Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, thinks it’s “goofy” that other states can do what Missouri can’t.

“Because a few folks want slot machines in gas stations, that is where we are. I mean it’s a simplified view of things, but it is what it is. You know, I’m sure Missourians will place a few bets between now and Super Bowl Sunday. They’ll just have to go somewhere else or have a friend that will do it for them.”

Rowden expects the House bill to pass and move onto the Senate, where it has been repeatedly blocked by fellow Warrensburg Republican Denny Hoskins, who responds to Missouri’s sports teams seeking to legalize it through the ballot process. He says that “it’s their right in order to initiate an initiative petition.”

“The fees are very low and the amount of money that they’re willing to put toward problem compulsive gambling here in the state is very minimal,” Hoskins said. “That definitely needs to increase because there will be an increase in problem compulsive gambling here in the state, especially when these, like I said, these sports teams and casinos are going to become a lot richer, they need to pay for any additional problems that they cause because legalization of sports book.”

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, encourages his fellow lawmakers to keep trying to get it passed while calling out the Republican supermajority.

“The idea that they…I’m trying to not use any French, but the idea that they care about what people want in this state versus what they’re going to give them and tell them what they can have, those are totally different ideas,” said Rizzo.

Rizzo said that he will support “whatever it takes” to get sports betting legalized in Missouri, including so-called video lottery terminals.

“If that’s a component to getting it done, we should figure out the best way to do that,” he said. “Right now, you currently have gray market machines that have proliferated throughout the state and with no regulation whatsoever. I don’t want some kid going into a gas station to buy a Gatorade after basketball practice and have to pass two or three middle aged people smoking cigarettes and playing a slot machine, basically.”

Houx said if the bill doesn’t pass this year, he will support a ballot measure that would enshrine sports betting in the Missouri Constitution.

Copyright 2024, Missourinet.