Missouri State Representative Dan Shaul.

  • Bill MO HB 2088 would legalize both VLT’s and sports betting in Missouri.
  • The bill has a set tax rate of 9% on all sports betting revenue and a 0.25% integrity tax for the pro leagues.
  • Missouri’s legislative session ends on May 15, 2020.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.House bill MO HB 2088, which would legalize sports betting in Missouri, will see the floor sometime later this week or next week.

If it gets through the chambers, it will then need to pass through the Senate floor before landing on Governor Mike Parson’s desk for signing. Should all go well, and MO HB 2088 become law, sports betting would become legal in Missouri on August 28, 2020.

Interview With Representative Shaul

Representative Dan Shaul (R-Imperial) is the sponsor behind MO HB 2088. His proposal would make both Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and sports betting legal in the state of Missouri. LegalSportsBetting got a chance to speak with Shaul on Monday about his bill.

Shaul is an advocate for legal gambling on sports. He is aware that gambling on sports is happening on a greater scale while it has still not become a legal pastime in his state of Missouri. When asked about his personal feelings toward legal sports betting, Shaul referenced the XFL games from the weekend which were aired on the FS1 network.

“For us to think it doesn’t exist, FS1 had it on their broadcast. The broadcasters talked about the over/under, the point spread. For us to think that people are not doing it is foolish. So, let’s make sure it’s done the right way, the fair way for all,” said Shaul.

Legalizing sports betting in the Show-Me State would impact the economy in a positive way. Presently, while gambling on sporting events is happening, Missouri is not benefitting from it at all. If made legal, the market could have a positive impact on the economy.

“Right now, we are making nothing from an activity that is not fair, not regulated and not transparent. Conservative estimates, even at $1 million in annual revenue would be $1 million in net profit that we didn’t have. If we make north of $100 million annually in revenue like we think we will, that would be a huge positive. It would be helpful all the way around from education to healthcare,” said Shaul.

If given the chance to make gambling on sports a fair, transparent, and regulated market, Shaul believes people would engage in the activity for the sheer amusement. Whether they’re sports bettors or not, they would give it a try and the economy in Missouri would benefit from it.

While MO SB 2088 is moving through the House, Shaul says that the next hearing should come within the next week or so. Asking him what the biggest challenges for getting his bill to become a law were, he named two challenges: the Senate and the casinos.

“The Senate is always a challenge due to their longer, deeper approach,” said Shaul when it comes to fully deciphering a bill. And that’s okay. The biggest issue is with the casinos.

“Casinos saying that legalizing sports betting will kill their business is the biggest opposition. They want to maintain their monopolies and that’s understandable. But I hope that people listen to more than sound bites to understand this market as a whole. We get in trouble when people just listen to sound bites,” said Shaul.

Shaul hopes that people go into this with an open mind. He wants everyone to be well informed before making decisions and listening to a sound bite here and there is not helpful. In fact, sound bites often get people in trouble as they have listeners left being misinformed.

Based on how the proceedings have gone, Shaul was asked what he thinks the future of legal sports betting in Missouri is. He believes that Missouri will have legal sports betting in 2021. Whether it’s legalized this year or next year, 2021 would be when the first legal bets could be placed.

If they legalize it this year for it to become law in August 2020, the rules and regulations will take time. This would mean a launch to the public would most likely happen in 2021 for gambling on sporting events and VLTs. The bill is currently on the House Floor, having showed positive momentum to this point.

“I believe at the end of the day, there will be legal sports betting in Missouri next year,” said Shaul.

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