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Missouri Sports Betting Initiative Criticized By Sen. Hoskins

Missouri sports betting could soon become a reality. A coalition, titled Winning for Missouri Education, will almost certainly have enough signatures on a petition to ensure a ballot initiative this coming Election Day.

One of the Missouri Senate’s biggest obstructionists on this issue has been Sen. Denny Hoskins. Over the past few years, he’s played a large role in ensuring no Missouri sports betting bill passes his chamber, due to his stance on the legalization of video lottery terminals (or VLTs). Unsurprisingly, Hoskins has reservations about the measure that’s likely heading to voters this Election Day.

Sen. Hoskins discusses Missouri sports betting

A reporter asked Hoskins about the developments at a Thursday press conference. In his response, Hoskins said he wasn’t opposed to the concept of a ballot initiative, but added he had specific concerns with this one.

“I’ve consistently said that the ballot language they are using, I don’t believe, best serves the people of Missouri,” he said. “The tax rate is very low, the fees are very low, and there’s not enough money in there for problem compulsive gambling, which is going to be caused by a legalization of sports betting here in the state.”

Unsurprisingly, Hoskins brought up VLTs in Thursday’s remarks. He remarked that the proposed legislation doesn’t do as much for veterans in the Show-Me State as VLTs would.

“None of those additional funds can go toward our veterans homes and veterans cemeteries,” he said. “Video lottery terminals have a significant amount of fees that could send over $30 million to our veterans homes and cemeteries.”

Hoskins’s history with sports betting legislation

Missouri sports betting has been a hot topic at the state’s last few legislative sessions. Multiple bills have been considered and bandied about, but Hoskins and his allies have played big roles in those measures not becoming laws.

Last year, lawmakers considered several measures, including a bill Hoskins himself helped draft. SB 92 was initially proposed to modify provisions to tax credits. However, Rep. Dan Houx, who has played a role in attempting to advance Missouri sports betting legislation, added sports betting language to the bill. Hoskins and his chamber killed the bill when it advanced back to the Senate.

Other efforts to stymie sports betting bills have included filibusters. One of them included a reading of a Ronald Reagan biography as some lawmakers successfully attempted to halt a vote.

Despite this, Hoskins said Thursday that measures advanced through legislative means would be preferable to the ballot initiative that will likely face voters this November.

“I think we’ve tried to put together a good plan in order to get sports betting passed, along with video lottery terminals,” he said. “I think that is the best plan. If we combine those two together, a combined bill would have $30 million toward our veterans homes and cemeteries and an additional over $250 million toward our schools here in the state. I think a legislative plan would be better, but we’ve gone down that road, and unfortunately, the casinos kill any sort of compromise that we try and come up with.”


  • Andrew Champagne

    Andrew Champagne is a Senior Editor at Raketech. A passionate storyteller, handicapper, and analyst, Andrew lives in Northern California's Bay Area. He can often be found planning his next trip to Las Vegas, bowling reasonably well, or golfing incredibly poorly.