Time is running out on Missouri sports betting bills. The legislature adjourns May 15.

  • There are currently multiple Missouri sports betting bills still alive in the 2020 legislative session.
  • MO House Bill 2088 has had the most traction this session and was put on the formal perfection calendar on March 18.
  • The Missouri legislature will adjourn on May 15.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As COVID-19 has affected every aspect of people’s daily lives, one side effect that some may not consider is its role in legislative efforts like that of Missouri sports betting. With the legislature adjourning on May 15, the damage the disease has done might be too much to overcome.

“It appears we are running out of time to take action on both sports betting and video lottery,” said Missouri Senator Denny Hoskins. “The break we took because of coronavirus will not allow us to properly vet the legislation.”

Last month, LegalSportsBetting had a chance to speak with Missouri House Rep. Dan Shaul who said at the time that he believed sports betting had a 50/50 chance of being a topic of discussion this legislative session.

Shaul’s bill, House Bill 2088, had made the most headway into the 2020 session. The bill was put on the formal perfection calendar on March 18 but hasn’t made any moves since due to the break COVID-19 caused.

But the writing on the wall may have come last week when both the MLB and the NBA terminated the contracts they had with lobbyists in the state pushing for sports gambling legislation.

Too Much To Cover Not Enough Time

Efforts to legalize Missouri sports betting have been going on since 2019. Last year legislation was written to give the state’s riverboat casinos the opportunity to open sportsbooks.

However, opposition came at that time when video lottery terminals were written in a way that would allow them to be held outside the riverboat casinos. Complications also arose when sports leagues managed to get an “integrity fee” written into the bills then.

After a year of studying the legal sports betting industry and prefiling bills, the state ultimately ended up with the same discussions in 2020. Certain bills had provisions to pay sports leagues a fee while others aimed to have video lottery terminals at general retail locations.

None of the bills this year were given the amount of time they were expected to be properly debated. With less than two weeks left in the session, odds are against a conservative-led legislature making any rash decisions on gambling or sports betting related bills.

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