Opinion: Missouri Needs Sports Betting

Sports betting apps like DraftKings continue to rise.

Zach Gunter, Staff Writer

  The Missouri Senate has found itself in a familiar position after being unable to reach an agreement on the issue of sports betting. Yet again, the wheels are spinning, but the issue goes nowhere.

  Many in the Senate, such as Senate President Caleb Rowden, a Republican from Columbia, do not believe the issue to be partisan. If it’s not partisan, then there shouldn’t be much issue in passing the legislation. But instead, we’re seeing gambling bills getting filibustered

  There are two issues the Senate sees in sports gambling legislation. Firstly, some senators are concerned about the ties to video gambling in gas stations and convenience stores. Others are simply trying to allocate more funds to help gambling addiction. 

  Missouri needs sports betting, and there’s one really good reason why: money. The Missouri government needs the funds to be brought in through taxes imposed on bets. The initial bill, Senate Bill 30, would have implemented a 10% tax rate on sports bets. However, Senator Lauren Arthur, a Democrat from Kansas City, petitioned to raise the tax to 15%. The best part? The generated revenue would go to the state’s education fund. 

  According to the U.S. News & World Report Education Rankings, Missouri ranks 30th. So more money being passed along to the state’s Department of Education would be a very good thing.

  Another reason the state needs to legalize sports gambling is that surrounding states have already done so – and Missouri citizens are betting there. Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Iowa and Tennessee have all legalized sports betting, and many cross state lines to place their bets. 

  Apps such as DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM use precise location to determine if you are in a legal betting state, and wagering is as easy as crossing the border and logging on. Missouri tax dollars go to other states because the General Assembly keeps dragging its feet.

  This is especially personal to me because I was the betting expert for SB Nation’s Kansas City Chiefs blog, Arrowhead Pride, last season. Even ignoring that, the benefits of legal sports betting for the state are undeniable. Missouri cannot afford to keep spewing tax money to other states at the rate they are. Money from sports betting should belong to Missouri’s education department. 

  If you want sports betting to be legalized in Missouri, contact your local representative or senator and tell them your thoughts. Find representatives using this legislator lookup. The next discussions on this issue will be with House Bill 556. Though there is no scheduled date yet, this bill will hopefully pass. Make sure to let your legislators know how you feel, and with enough constituent support, it will pass. Missouri needs this.

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