Missouri sports teams petition for legalized sports betting

September 13, 2023
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A coalition of professional sports teams will be campaigning to put sports betting to a vote on the 2024 ballot.

The St Louis Cardinals is leading a coalition of Missouri professional sports teams to support the legalization of sports betting within the state. The coalition aims to put sports betting on the 2024 ballot and also includes the Kansas City Chiefs, the Kansas City Royals, The Kansas City Current, the St. Louis City SC soccer teams and the St. Louis Blues.

The teams have begun a petition, rather than wait any longer for the Missouri legislature to announce putting sports betting on the future ballot. Mike Whittle, SVP of the Cardinals and the coalition’s General Counsel, says the teams are prepared for the monetary costs of advertising their campaign and getting signatures on petitions.

Sports wagering is currently legal in seven out of eight states that border Missouri, with Oklahoma being the Show Me State’s only neighbor also without the legal opportunity to bet on sports. California put sports betting on its ballot last year, but voters were not in favor.

Whittle told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that sports betting in Missouri would, “provide our fans a good, new exciting way to enjoy sports and root for our teams.” The Missouri House of Representatives voted 118-35 in favor of sports betting, but the issue never gained a Senate vote.

The Missouri Attorney General recently called into question the complexity and legality of slot machines in the state. The Republican-led Senate has also stalled when it comes to tackling sports betting, due to questions of whether sports wagering and slot machines will be paired within regulations.

Versions of a sports betting petition were filed with the Secretary of State, and these must be approved before the coalition of teams may begin gathering signatures. Around 180,000 are needed by May 2024 to qualify for the ballot.

The sports betting initiative proposed would levy a 10% tax on adjusted gross sports betting revenue, allocate $5m to a problem gambling prevention fund and allow each Missouri professional sports team and casino to offer sports betting both onsite and online.

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