JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Bets placed on this year's Super Bowl are expected to set records. Despite Missouri's football team playing in the game, the state will not reap any of the benefits from sports betting.
Sports betting is still illegal in Missouri, but in the past year, some big players have joined the push for legalization. This year, Legal Sports Report expects $1.3 billion in bets to be placed on the Super Bowl, which would set a new record.
Last year when the Chiefs went to the Super Bowl, sports bets exceeded expectations and reached over $1 billion. GeoComply blocked at least 250,000 attempts to place a bet on the Super Bowl last year. On opening week of the NFL season, GeoComply noted a 56% increase in sports betting since the prior season.
All of Missouri's neighbors have legal sports betting, but Missouri has not been able to get a bill through the legislature.
Geoff Zoconde specializes in sports betting legalization for Cover. He said the Chiefs' success makes Missouri's lack-thereof to legalize sports betting more obvious.
"The success of the Chiefs. It's just something that really throws in the face of people in Missouri that that you can't legally bet on sports because football is the king of sports betting in the U.S.," Zoconde said.
After getting fed up with waiting, six professional sports teams in Missouri filed an initiative petition that aims to legalize sports betting. The petition is now able to gather signatures.
If passed by voters, the petition would make it legal for Missourians to place bets on professional and college sports teams through casinos or online platforms. Under this petition, there would be a 10% tax on the revenue after the winnings.
"As the upcoming Super Bowl will highlight, Missourians are already placing billions annually in sports bets using illegal, offshore gaming websites or traveling across state lines and boosting our neighboring economies, while depriving our classrooms of much needed resources," said Jack Cardetti, spokesman for Winning for Missouri Education.
The petition needs signatures from 5% of legal voters in 6-of-8 voting districts to get on a statewide ballot. More information about the initiative petition process can be found online. It takes a simple majority of voters for an initiative petition to pass. However, that could change if initiative petition reform is approved by the legislature.
St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt previously told ABC 17 News that he'd withdraw the petition if the legislature passes legal sports betting this session, but Senate leadership is not optimistic about that happening any time soon.
"I know that myself and my friends are looking forward to the day that they can bet on the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes legally in the state of Missouri," said Sen. John Rizzo (D-Kansas City) at a news conference.
Despite being a big supporter of legalizing sports betting, Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) is often blamed for stalling sports betting in the Senate. He introduces bills year after year but stands firm that his version should be the one to pass.
"What I have a problem with is casinos making a killing -- and it's estimated that they would net an additional profit of $25 million each if sports betting were to pass in Missouri -- but we need at least $10 million to help combat the problem of compulsive gamblers here in the state," Hoskins said.
A lot of the back-and-forth in the Senate comes from disagreements between casinos and video lottery terminals, machines you can find at gas stations. Video lottery terminals are a gray area in Missouri law, but the companies that operate them want them to be legal.
"I think it's goofy that everybody else around the country is doing something that we can't do cause a few folks want slot machines in gas stations," said Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia).