JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Some Missouri lawmakers hope to legalize sports gaming in this legislative session.
State Rep. Dan Shaul (R-Imperial) has proposed legislation that would regulate sports gaming and video lottery terminals. Shaul believes if lawmakers fail to act, they will be missing an opportunity to regulate both industries and generate revenue to fund education.
“People are using these machines at a high rate,” he said. “I think it’s time we give them what they expect to get out of it.”
Shaul is referring to the appearance of video lottery terminals in some Missouri gas stations and truck stops. There’s a debate over whether the machines are legal. Shaul said current law does not require a minimum payout from those machines. Shaul said his proposed legislation, HB2088 would require an 85 percent payout.
His bill would also legalize sports wagering. A 2018 US Supreme Court ruling opened the door for states to regulate the industry. Shaul said Missourians are already placing sports bets by driving to other states or through bookies and offshore websites.
“Especially this month with the Chiefs and the Super Bowl, I mean you see certainly a spike in bets,” Shaul said.
He said he’s tried to put together a bill that will protect the sports entities, the athletes and consumers.
Shaul estimates legalizing sports gaming in Missouri could produce $100 million annually for the state. He said regulation video lottery terminals could generate an additional $250-300 million.