For quite some time, Missouri has been looking towards legalizing sports betting. Now, it seems that lawmakers are also looking at online casino and poker games. The Senate has been the driving force behind sports betting and now it is the House looking to add other online gambling options in the state. Representative Dan Houx introduced a new measure this week, HB 1364, which will allow for complete online gambling, in all verticals. This bill would actually replace the Senate measure instead of a separate initiative.
In general, gambling in Missouri has been limited to riverboats. Venues are located along the Missouri or Mississippi river. Such facilities are located near St. Louis and Kansas City. If online gambling is legalized, it would no doubt be accepted by players in these areas as well as throughout the state.
With HB 1364, the bill sets up the online gambling industry quite well. It is similar to the model that is used in New Jersey, which we all know is very successful. The bill allows for each of the 13 riverboat casinos in the state to have up to three skins. If everyone gets involved and all the skins are taken, the industry would be the largest in the US.
The tax rate for operations is 12% which would be the lowest in the country. The majority of the taxes paid, 83.3%, would go to education. The remaining amount would be placed in the Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund.
Fees would cost only $50,000 for licensing and suppliers would pay $25,000. This is a super low amount and will be appealing to any and all operators. The industry would be open to interstate gambling in the future, as long as it is with a state that has legalized online gambling.
The legislation also requires the secondary server to be located at the riverboat casinos. They can, however, be connected to primary servers anywhere within the US.
Poker is mentioned in the legislation, but only to classify it as well as sports betting as a game of skill. Operators in the state are allowed to offer games of chance and skill. For the sports betting portion, the measure is similar to SB 256, which is already introduced in the state. It also allows for up to three skins per license holder.
However, the tax on sports betting is just 6.75%. The license cost is the same at $50,000 and renewal is just $20,000.
So, what happens next? The bill was read twice this week and it must now be assigned to a committee. Once that is done, the bill will then be placed in a public hearing. The hearing will see the bill presented and Houx will be named the sponsor.
Testimony will be provided by those who are in favor or opposed to the measure. At this point, we should know if the measure has enough support to pass or fail. If it does have support, we could see Missouri rush to the forefront and become the next state to legalize online gambling in the US.