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Missouri Sports Betting To Appear On The 2024 Ballot

Missouri sports betting is inching closer to an Election Day decision. Organizers of Winning for Missouri Education, a coalition designed to get the issue on this year’s ballot, submitted more than 340,000 petition signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State Thursday.

The petition efforts started in late-2023, after years of frustration within the state. The total number of signatures submitted nearly doubles the minimum threshold to trigger an Election Day referendum. Once enough signatures are approved (roughly 180,000), Missouri sports betting will be on the state’s ballot this November.

Winning for Missouri Education celebrates the milestone

The coalition behind the signature-gathering effort included high-level figures within the Missouri sports world. Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals, expressed enthusiasm for the Missouri sports betting initiative at a press conference:

“As Missouri remains one of the few states without legalized sports betting, we are thrilled that more than 340,000 Missourians supported placing this issue on the November ballot. The St. Louis Cardinals are proud to support this initiative, which will boost Missouri’s professional sports teams, our fans, and Missouri classrooms.”

Other attendees at the Thursday event included representatives from the Kansas City Royals, the St. Louis Blues, and the Kansas City Current.

Campaign spokesman Jack Cardetti emphasized the impact Missouri sports betting could have on in-state education programs if passed this November:

“As one of only 12 states without legalized sports betting, Missouri took a significant step forward today in ensuring that these revenues stay in Missouri to help our communities and classrooms. We are grateful for the support from Missouri’s professional sports franchises, who have been crucial in creating the opportunity for Missourians to vote directly on this issue in November.”

The initiative in question would legalize retail and online sports betting within the Show-Me State. Revenue would be taxed at a 10% clip and, according to Winning for Missouri Education, generate tens of millions of dollars for statewide public education programs.

The long wait for Missouri sports betting

Proponents of Missouri sports betting have been attempting to legalize the industry for years. Multiple pieces of legislation have been considered over the past several legislative sessions.

Those bills, however, have mostly been stonewalled in the state Senate. The primary obstructionist has been Sen. Denny Hoskins, who has expressed a desire to couple sports betting legislation with the legalization of video lottery terminals. This position isn’t a common one, but he and his allies have used their power to block Missouri sports betting bills that have advanced to his chamber.

Last month, Hoskins addressed the issue at a press conference. Unsurprisingly, he was critical of the initiative that will face Missouri voters later this year.

“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.”

This ballot measure, however, circumvents the legislative process. Furthermore, Hoskins is term-limited and will be out of office when the 2025 legislative session begins. If Missouri sports betting fails at the ballot box, it will almost certainly be addressed by lawmakers without the presence of the industry’s loudest opponent.

Author

  • 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.