‘We’re really frustrated’ Cardinals looking to put sports gambling on ballot after bill stalls in Jefferson City

Cardinals looking to put sports gambling on ballot after bill stalls in Jefferson City
Cardinals looking to put sports gambling on ballot after bill stalls in Jefferson City
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 10:31 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Frustrated with the way state lawmakers in Jefferson City are approaching sports gambling the Cardinals leadership appears to be looking at a different approach.

A plan to legalize sports betting is stalled in the Missouri senate, and it appears likely to not pass in the final two weeks.

So the issue could come to the voters next year, via the initiative petition process.

If you try to bet in Ballpark Village on your phone today, the sports gambling apps reject it, since it’s illegal in the state of Missouri.

But the Cardinals want you to be able to bet at the stadium and in the state of Missouri in general.

Brandon Troutman, a Cardinals fan, said he’d bet a decent chunk of change if given the chance to make bets inside Busch Stadium during the dozen or so games he attends every year.

“Probably like 50 to 100 dollars each time I come,” said Troutman.

He believes sports gaming would make Cards games even more exciting.

“It gets the fans more involved in the game. If you have money on something, people are going to pay attention to it, so when you’re doing that, it obviously creates a better environment to come watch a ball game,” said Troutman.

It’s something that Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III hears from those young fans.

“Younger fans tend to gravitate towards the interactive phone betting,” said DeWitt.

Tuesday, he said to News 4 he’d like to see the issue get on the ballot for voters to make up their own minds.

He said it would unlock a sponsorship opportunity, but more importantly, it would engage the fans, allowing them to do something some are already doing legally and keep their money in Missouri.

“If you make it legal, we can regulate and tax this business, right now, it’s a free for all,” said DeWitt.

This comes as a bill that would legalize sports gambling continues to stall in the Missouri Senate after the Missouri House already passed it.

“There’s a roadblock there,” said DeWitt.

This comes on a day where fans got to the ballpark extra early as international sensation and Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani came to St. Louis for the first time.

Some fans said they would love to be able to bet on games while they’re watching at Busch Stadium.

“I’d love it. People like the chance to win some, and I’m one of them,” said Cardinals fan Ted Schneider.

Others believe it would distract from the game.

“I think the ballpark is here especially for baseball and that, and you have kids and family around in that, and they’re exposed enough to those things the way it is, so let’s just keep it baseball,” said Debra Abel.

Others say there’s just no way they’d be gambling at a ball game.

“Not for me, but I’m 67 years old. I’ve worked in Vegas for two years, and I lost, people don’t win gambling,” said Kirby Hames.

As for Troutman, he points to neighboring states like Kansas and Illinois and believes it a no-brainer.

“You see how it is doing in other states and look at the success it’s having,” said Troutman.

The Missouri General Assembly is working on a way to make it harder to pass ballot initiatives in the future but voters would have to approve that change in 2024.

That means if sports gambling gets on the ballot next year - it would only have to win a 50% majority of voters.