Missouri Rep. introduces bll to regulate sports betting, “skill-based” gaming machines


House Bill 2835, sponsored by Rep. Crystal Quade, has been introduced in the Missouri House with the aim of legalizing both online and retail sports wagering, along with the authorization of interactive digital games played on mechanical amusement devices. 

The legislation outlines a framework for the operation and regulation of these activities, alleging consumer protection and revenue for the state as its main drivers. According to the bill, the amusement devices, which are player-activated terminals, would need approval from the Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC) and obtain licenses for operation.

Operators looking to provide interactive digital games via terminals would face a license application fee of up to $25,000, while prospective retailers would pay a nonrefundable application fee of no more than $1,000. The so-called “no chance” gaming machines have seen expansion in cities such as Springfield, with many questioning the legality of these devices.

Licenses awarded to operators and retailers would be valid for one year, with the option for renewal every four years. Operators would pay an annual fee of $10,000 for license renewal. The revenue generated from license applications would be allocated to the state’s general revenue fund after background investigations by law enforcement.

Sports betting would become legal

In addition to regulating interactive digital games, HB 2835 also addresses the legalization of sports betting in Missouri. The proposed legislation permits wagering for patrons aged 21 or older, with a 10% tax on adjusted gross receipts generated by operators. The majority of these tax revenues would support public education initiatives in the state.

Some will go into education, and some will go into public safety. I think those are places that Missourians would be very happy to see this money go,” Quade said of the proposal.

Furthermore, online gambling operators seeking a wagering license in Missouri would be required to pay an initial application fee of up to $150,000, while gambling boats would pay up to $100,000. Renewal fees for sportsbooks after the first year would not exceed $350,000, with boats paying no more than $50,000.

Rep. Quade’s bill also mandates the MGC to conduct a study on the social and economic impact of gaming in the state, including an assessment of compulsive gambling.

Petition campaign also moving forward

Last month, Winning for Missouri Education, a coalition representing six of Missouri’s professional sports teams, gathered over 100,000 petition signatures in support of sports betting via a ballot initiative. The coalition, including teams like the Kansas City Royals and the Super Bowl LVIII champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, aims to collect 180,000 signatures for a ballot initiative in November.

The state’s pro teams launched the initiative petition campaign after years of frustration with lawmakers in Jefferson City, where legislation has been stymied over attempts to link sports wagering to regulation of video lottery games, which could again happen with House Bill 2835. Casinos have opposed that stipulation.

Right now, eight bills (four in the House and four in the Senate) have been filed that relate to either gaming or sports wagering in the state, reports KY3. Quade’s bill has yet to reach committee or go to the floor for consideration.