Sports betting will be coming to Missouri over the next couple of years. Whether that is 2020 or 2021 remains to be seen, as deliberations have been going on in the state legislature for the better part of three years. With the state’s two most populous towns, St. Louis and Kansas City, on borders of states that seem to be embracing sports betting at a higher level, it really is only a matter of time.
St. Louis is on the Illinois border and Illinois has already started taking legal wagers. Kansas is pretty close to polishing off a bill that will allow for both retail and online betting, which would make it extremely easy for residents of Kansas City to get their bets in. To the north, Iowa has been thriving in the sports betting realm. There comes a point in time when setting aside political differences and nitpicking over bill language is overwhelmed by the loss of revenue.
Missouri is going to reach that point sooner rather than later.
There has been a stalemate in the Missouri legislature for a variety of different reasons. Various bills have had different tax rates for the operators. The usual crutch for opponents of expanded gambling is the notion of gambling addiction and most bills do have a portion of revenue set aside for programs to help problem gamblers. That has been a topic of conversation as well.
Availability of betting to the masses has been part of the discussion as well, given that state’s gaming facilities are pretty spread out. There are casinos along both the eastern and western borders of the state, but most of the middle of Missouri would have a lengthy drive to get somewhere to place bets. As a result, mobile betting would likely make the cut with any final bill, but could require in-person registration, like we have seen in Illinois and Iowa.
Yet another sticking point in the discussion has been whether or not the lawmakers should have the power to approve sports betting or if it should be put to a vote. With several pro teams and Division I colleges in the state and a whole lot of sports fans, it sure seems like the voters would approve such a measure. If it comes down to the lawmakers or comes down to the constituents, it sure seems like sports betting is going to be legal in Missouri sometime soon.
The back-and-forth in Missouri has to be getting old for the voters that are following along. A lot of money is leaking across the border to Illinois and Iowa. Money will soon leak across the border to Kansas. Arkansas to the south does have legal sports betting, but only in retail form. More money is likely to leave the state when Tennessee, a state that shares an extremely small border with Missouri, adopts online wagering in 2020.
One nice thing about Missouri is that there are some casinos and some brick-and-mortar companies that will be ready to set up shop, but the language discussed in the majority of the bills includes the online-only sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, and potentially others like Fox Bet, theScore Bet, and PointsBet. There should be a lot of options in what projects to be a competitive market.
At some point, everybody will have to agree to a compromise in the Missouri legislature or just leave it up to the public to vote. When either one of those two things happens, Missouri will be another state with legalized sports betting.
You’ll have to be patient for the opportunity to bet on sports in your home state if you live in Missouri, but it will be happening in either 2020 or 2021, barring a complete debacle.
For now, there are a couple of really good options. Residents of St. Louis already know this because they have probably been participating for a while, but the state of Illinois takes mobile and online wagering. In-person registration is required through 2020, but if you want to bet and you can’t do it at home, you will make that drive to get signed up and set up a bankroll.
Iowa is another state that has similar regulations to Illinois. You’ll have to find a brick-and-mortar book and get signed up, but once you do, you can bet in Iowa. Geofencing technology forces you to be at least 60 yards inside of the border before you can access your accounts, but that, too, is a small price to pay for being able to legally bet on sports.
If you are so inclined, you can go down to Arkansas and bet in-person at the retail sportsbooks in the state.
At this point, it seems like Kansas will approve sports betting quicker than Missouri, so those in Kansas City will be able to do that at either the Hollywood Casino about 15 minutes from the Missouri border or just use their online capabilities because any bill approved in Kansas will allow for online and mobile sports betting.
While you have to leave the state for now, that seems temporary in the Show Me State. We just need the legislature to “Show Me” that they can come to an agreement that would truly benefit all members of the state and increase the state’s budget.