When the Kansas City Chiefs open their 2022 season in early September, it may be possible for fans in the stands to bet on who will win, how many touchdown passes Patrick Mahomes will throw and even whether the coin toss will be heads or tails.
But before that happens, backers of sports wagering will have to overcome opposition from backers of video lottery terminals, who promise much larger state revenues, and demands from lawmakers who predict big profits for casinos but nothing for their communities.
A bill to legalize sports wagering is heading to the House floor for debate following a committee vote Tuesday. Three other bills legalizing sports wagering will have public hearings Wednesday in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The fiscal notes estimate Missourians will wager about $150 million annually on sporting events, resulting in tax revenue of $13- to $15 million annually. About $1.3 million will go to cities that have one of the 13 licensed casinos, with the rest going to state education programs.
But the bills provide no revenue to cities and counties when bettors make wagers in communities without a casino.
“There are a lot of people who are going to make a lot of money off this and none of that money, in this current bill’s form, goes back to where the people live,” said Rep. Scott Cupps, R-Shell Knob. Cupps is the chairman of the House Special Committee on Public Policy, which approved the bill on a 4-2 vote last week, with Cupps abstaining.
The ideas being considered, Cupps said, include a one-cent per wager, or $1 per day, that would be distributed based on where the bet is made.
The issue is summed up best, he said, by a statement from a public official in his southwest Missouri district.
“We’re not saying we want a piece of the pie, we are just saying we want some crumbs,” Cupps said he was told.
How it would work
The House bill moving to the floor and two of the Senate bills set for a hearing Wednesday are nearly identical. The third Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Deny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, has many of the same elements but with a higher tax rate and a role for the Missouri lottery.
The similar portions, backed by most casino operators and major sports teams, would allow fans wanting to place a bet on a game to do so at the casinos or using a licensed online platform such as FanDuel …….