Sports betting bill to be debated again in MO special session, likely to fail

Lawmakers will debate latest bill Monday
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 10:33 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - Missouri lawmakers will debate another sports betting bill during a special session.

Rep. Dan Houx (R) introduced the bill for the special session. In a statement to News 4, the representative’s office cited Kansas launching its sportsbooks near the beginning of September:

“The current extraordinary session was called by the Governor to have robust discussion to keep as much of Missourians own money in their hands while ensuring we continue ‘managing our state finances by balancing our budget every year.’ I feel strongly that an important part of that discussion must include removing barriers that cause Missourians to spend their hard earned money in other states.

“After watching an exodus of Missourians over the last two weeks contribute to Kansans’ economy through sportsbook, it is clear Missouri has missed an opportunity to be responsible in maintaining a balanced budget while also cutting taxes. As Kansas and other surrounding states capitalize at our cost, I believe adding sportsbook to the discussion rises to the level of extraordinary. This is why, despite being outside of the Governor’s call, that I have filed House Bill 4 and I hope the Governor will give serious consideration to expanding the call.”

The company handling security for all mobile sportsbooks in Kansas, GeoComply, has recorded individuals placing bets in Kansas and attempts in Missouri.

GeoComply makes sure users are accessing sportsbook apps legally. If you try to use them in Missouri, where sports betting remains illegal, the app will be shut down.

The company performed 2.3 million geolocation checks in Kansas on opening weekend, which began September 1.

In the first week of the launch, the company has blocked roughly 104,000 attempts from people in Missouri trying to access the Kansas market.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” said Mike Leara, the chairman for the Missouri Gaming Commission. “In the event this comes, we are 60, 90 days away from implementing the entire process. I find it unlikely that it will happen before the end of this year. I would anticipate that the bill passes the House. However, I don’t envision it coming out of the Senate.”

Lawmakers cited the casinos not agreeing to the last bill that died in May.

Several Missouri residents have previously told News 4 they drive over to Illinois to place wagers.

Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Arkansas are states surrounding Missouri where sports betting is legal.

Lawmakers will debate the bill on Monday. If it dies, officials believe another bill will be introduced in January, the start of the next legislative session.