- Sports betting might soon become a reality in Missouri after a report on the issue has been finalized.
- Lawmakers would like to see the wagering of sporting events become legal as neighboring states are benefitting from it.
- The market for sports wagers has continued to grow in popularity with each state that makes the pastime legal.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Legalized sports betting in Missouri is up for discussion after a report by lawmakers was finalized on Monday. Along with sports betting, the use of “gray machines”, which are video lottery terminals, were included in the report.
“We have a problem in Missouri with unregulated gaming,” said Dan Shaul, a representative with the state. “This isn’t something I want to kick down the road for another three or four years because all it’s going to do is hurt us on both sides of the aisle.”
There are at least 14,000 gray machines peppered throughout the state. They are found mostly in convenience stores. They are not legal nor are they illegal, making their color and nickname very appropriate as they occupy that gray space of legalities.
In Platte County, many of the machines were taken by law enforcement and the businesses that were profiting from them are being held accountable. This is the first case of its kind in the state when it comes to gambling issues. There will be no set ruling on this trial until some time nearing the end of 2021 though.
It’s been said that the use of these machines is potentially hurting the gambling market in the state as well as employment that could be offered by casinos. Without regulation, it is unknown how these video lottery machines operate or just how much revenue they are taking away from casinos.
Sports Betting In Missouri
Eighteen states have legalized sports betting in one form or another. Missouri is not one of those states. It is the belief of Shaul and members of the special committee for sports wagering and gambling that sports betting should be legalized.
“We already are behind. Illinois is doing it, Iowa is doing it, Arkansas is doing it,” said representative Wes Rogers. “If we don’t legalize sports betting, we will lose revenue to our neighbors and it will cost us jobs, especially in the cities.”
Rogers went on to say that not legalizing sports betting would cause dire consequences within the state.
“It really could have devastating consequences. That’s not a dramatic prophecy, it’s reality,” said Rogers. “Let’s do the easy stuff quickly and take our time to do the more complicated things.” The report should help the state come to a conclusion on what to do with both issues and their gambling market. While the Missouri Gaming Commission estimates $100 million in revenue from sports betting, pro teams believe the number would be at about $40 million. The special committee thinks it could be in the $50 million range like that of Indiana.
While the official report has not yet been released to the public as it awaits signatures, sports betting could become a reality for Missouri. It’s already happening as residents of the state find other outlets to wager on sporting events. At this point, the representatives make sense when they say that Missouri is losing out on money they could be putting toward their economy.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.