Missouri sports fans may have something to celebrate soon as a recent tweet from Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden-R suggests that the state's lawmakers may be closer than ever to legalizing sports betting. On Monday, Rowden tweeted, "Wouldn't it be fitting if we passed a sports betting bill off the Senate floor during one of the most fantastic sports weeks of the year? LET'S GO! #MOLeg".
The tweet was met with excitement from many Missouri residents who have been eagerly awaiting the legalization of sports betting in the state. Rowden has become an important, if, at times, timid, supporter of legalizing sports betting in Missouri, and his tweet is seen as a promising sign that lawmakers may finally be ready to take action on the issue.
"Wouldn't it be fitting if we passed a sports betting bill off the Senate floor during one of the most fantastic sports weeks of the year? LET'S GO! #MOLeg"
Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia (and counting) have legalized sports betting in some form, and Missouri has been considering joining their ranks for several years. If sports betting is legalized in Missouri, it could generate significant tax revenue for the state. According to some estimates, legalizing sports betting could generate upwards of $20-30 million in annual tax revenue for Missouri. Based on the verbiage of the bill(s) currently in the State Senate, those tax dollars would go toward public education.
Hurdles to Come
Of course, there are still hurdles to overcome before sports betting is legalized in Missouri. The state's lawmakers will need to navigate the tricky subject of Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) that has been hotly debated the past two years. VLTs are often referred to as “grey market” machines, comparable to a slot machine, that you’ll often see at smaller establishments throughout the state. Senator Denny Hoskins-R, et al., filibustered a vote on sports betting in 2022 and he remains a staunch advocate for VLTs, citing the additional tax revenue they would generate for the state, particularly it’s veterans. No compromise has seemed close.
However, Rowden's tweet is a positive sign that the Senate may be able to come to an agreement. Missouri residents who are passionate about sports betting are encouraged to contact their local representatives to voice their support for legalizing sports betting in the state. With the Master's almost underway and sports fans across Missouri excited about the possibility of legalized sports betting, now may be the perfect time for lawmakers to take action on this important issue.