Sports betting on the agenda as Missouri lawmakers head back to work

School choice bill also being discussed.
Sports betting is back on the agenda for Missouri lawmakers, as many worry the state is falling...
Sports betting is back on the agenda for Missouri lawmakers, as many worry the state is falling behind Kansas and Illinois.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 5:43 AM CST
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MISSOURI (KCTV) - Missouri lawmakers are heading back to Jefferson City in just six days for the first legislative session in 2023, with several key topics on agendas---including sports betting.

There is another effort to get this bill passed to catch up with neighboring Kansas, after falling short during the last session. Some political strategists and lawmakers believe Missouri is falling behind.

They say millions of tax dollars are not coming back to the state, as thousands of Missouri residents are crossing state borders to Kansas or Illinois to place a bet. Around 104,000 attempts from Missouri residents within state lines were blocked the first week it was legalized in Kansas.

Kansas’ first two weeks of opening the sports betting doors brought in more than 2.4 million bets. Kansas’ tax revenue increased to more than $8 million after seeing just a total of $2.7 million in September and October.

Missouri’s bill would place a 10 percent tax on gross receipts from each sports bet---the same as Kansas. The video lottery terminals would be taxed at 36 percent---and the legislature would give $5 million each year toward gambling addiction programs.

Another key factor is the sports-betting-pull on pro teams. Kansas legislative leaders believe what they are doing with sports betting could attract the Royals and/or Chiefs to cross the border and play there to generate even more revenue.

Giving families “MO” school choice

There’s another proposal that should catch parents’ attention.

Pre-filed bills in 2023 would allow parents to send their kids outside of their local public school district. Students would also have more access to financial support if they wanted to go to private school.

This change will sound familiar to parents in Kansas, as the Sunflower State recently adopted a policy that requires districts that aren’t filled to accept transfer students from other districts.

Under the Missouri proposal, districts aren’t required to do this. They could opt-in to the plan, and even limit the number of students in their district who were allowed to transfer to another public district.

For parents hoping to send their kids to private school – there’s also a push to expand the MOScholars program which is funded by donations and provides scholarships to students.

The program is capped at $25 million. That’s enough money to cover about 3,500 students, but many lawmakers want to expand that.