JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
On Monday, the Missouri Senate Governmental Affairs and Fiscal Oversight Committee voted in favor of HB 2502 which would legalize sports betting in Missouri casinos and online.
According to a staff fiscal analysis, it would generate $10 million in tax revenue annually for public education.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Hegeman said he is hoping that the tax on sports wagering profits to be higher than the 8% approved in the House, noting that the bill started with a 10% tax and legislation introduced in the Senate has set it as high as 21%.
In a release, Senator Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) said, "The current version of the bill fails to resolve key issues relating to funding for education and problem gambling treatment programs, and does not implement changes needed to address illegal gambling activity."
Daniel Smith, with the Bet No More Gambling Training Programs in Missouri, says he sees the positive impacts that the bill could have on the state in revenue, but ultimately he sees the legalization to be a negative impact on citizens.
His first example was about what happened when sports betting was legalized in New York, "Generated $113 million dollars in profits for the operators. However, $113 million in profits or revenues, actually translates to $113 million in losses to the residents of the state," Smith said.
He also pulled background information from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "They saw almost a 300% increase. I believe the exact number is a 285% increase in their helpline calls. People getting in trouble with this new way to gamble."
Smith also believed that the number of people with gambling issues is continuing to grow as more legalization happens. "I would say the numbers are close to 15% to 20% of the people who gamble experience severe problems with gambling," Smith said.
Some lawmakers do however say that some changes need to be made to this bill to pass it through. Hoskins says he looks forward to working on this bill during floor debate to ensure that Missouri education and problem gambling treatment programs are the focus of this legislation.
The bill now moves to the full Senate for debate.
Sports betting bills are also getting closer to passage in surrounding states. The senate in Kansas is set to vote on the legalization sometime this week.