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Missouri’s Sports Betting Pursuit Moves Full Steam Ahead With Pro Sports TeamsDespite opposition, pro sports teams in the Show-Me State are pushing harder to ensure voters have their say about regulated sports betting in the November 2024 ballot. For now, however, polls show that over half the Missourians oppose the initiative.
After a long legislative standstill that has prolonged Missouri’s journey to legalizing sports, citizens may be able to vote on a sports betting proposal during the 2024 ballot. With the new development, the Show-Me State’s endeavor to legalize sports betting has taken a leap towards possibly joining the plethora of other jurisdictions that have already legalized sports betting.
This comes after Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft formally approved the ballot language that would appear next year. In addition to the Secretary’s signature, at least 170,000 signatures will be required to guarantee that the language makes it to the ballot.
Several Attempts to Legalize Have Been Shut Down
Sports betting is legal in over 35 states, and more are following suit so as not to be left out of great income-boosting opportunities. Missouri was among the first states to consider legalizing discussions on the same. Interestingly, the state’s bid started way before the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, which allowed states to individually determine the future of betting on sporting events within their borders.
However, the road to having a legalized sports betting market in Missouri has been marred by avid opposition from some lawmakers, especially at the Senate level. During the last two legislative sessions, the Missouri House of Representatives has approved bills that would have made sports betting legal in the state. Unfortunately, the proposals hit a dead end once presented to the Senate.
Pro Sports Teams Spearheading Sports Betting Efforts
Behind the campaign to bring sports betting to Missouri is a coalition of local professional sports teams. The said coalition has demonstrated support for the decision to leave the state’s sports betting fate in the hands of voters. Among the teams are the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team (taking the lead), the Kansas City Chiefs football team, and the Kansas City Current soccer team. Moreover, the St. Louis City soccer team and the St. Louis Blues hockey team are also part of the sports betting regulation effort.
The five teams came together in a bid to hasten things along, which has taken the Missouri Legislature about five years with no conclusive verdict. To bypass the legislative process that has proved challenging in a Republican-led Senate, the teams took it upon themselves to bring forth a petition to let voters decide. As such, gathering petition signatures from state residents was necessary.
This coalition has committed to covering the costs of signature collection and running an advertising campaign to rally public support as voters prepare for the Missouri ballot in the coming months. According to the teams, sports betting in Missouri would provide fans with exciting ways to enjoy future sporting events while generating millions of dollars for the state – something that would boost the economy.
If the ballot lands in favor of sports betting, sportsbook revenues would rake in 10% tax revenue for the state, with only players above 21 years of age being allowed to participate. Neighboring states have passed bills allowing sports betting within their land, the most recent being Kentucky, whose sports betting market kicked off with the NFL season in September.
US Sports Betting Giants Are Part of the Consultations for the Ballot Initiative
The pro sports teams’ coalition has held meetings with betting companies, including FanDuel, DraftKings, Fanatics Sportsbook, and BetMGM, on the 2024 ballot initiative. It (the alliance) will soon be engaging the said operators to develop strategies for collecting signatures and determining what mobile app version would be an excellent fit for the market.
On the timeline of the discussions, St. Louis Cardinals president Bill DeWitt said:Quote
“We’re going to do that here in the next week or two.”
Moreover, DeWitt also emphasized how expensive the planned advertising campaign would be. As such, it would be much better if the House and Senate would agree on the way forward by the spring to save such costs. He told AP News:Quote
“I would be thrilled if we could get legislative action because then we wouldn’t have to do it… I’m hopeful, but I’m also being realistic.”
The St. Louis Top Dispatch reported a survey conducted by the Remington Research Group on behalf of the Missouri Scout, indicating some resistance to sports betting legalization. Nonetheless, this has not discouraged the pro teams backing the Missouri sports betting initiatives from attempting to convince Missourians of the advantages of introducing sports betting within state lines.
According to the poll, which engaged 711 potential voters, 54% are opposed to the initiative, while 26% responded favorably to the possibility of legalizing sports betting. Finally, 20% were unsure of their stance, somewhat showing that depending on the outcome of the advertising campaign, the numbers could shift one way or the other for Missouri’s regulated sports betting initiative.
All Eyes on the 2024 Ballot
Once all the preliminary requirements have been met, the state will include a sports betting proposition in the 2024 ballot. There is no way of telling which way the verdict will sway, although the coalition’s advertising campaign may carry some weight in helping voters decide.
California was the last state to leave the ball in voters’ court regarding sports betting. The Golden State presented propositions 26 and 27 in a 2022 referendum, but both received an overwhelming ‘No’ vote. The coming months are expected to bring further developments, and stakeholders remain optimistic about the positive impact this move could have on the state’s economy and entertainment landscape.
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