Several Missouri lawmakers are attempting to sabotage efforts to legalize sports betting in the Show-Me State as part of their efforts to legalize video lottery terminals (VLTs). Several State Senators are on board with a poison pill proposal that would force regulated sports betting operators to pay a $4 per session fee every time a player logs into their apps. Thought the rogue senators’ plan is unlikely to see daylight, it’s definitely slowing Missouri’s roll towards establishing a regulated sports betting market.
At the heart of the matter is Sen Karla May’s efforts to push a standalone bill legalizing VLTs through the Missouri State House. When efforts by her colleagues to pair VLTs and sports betting into a single bill failed, May and other VLT supporter threatened to grind the proceedings to a halt. That’s when Senator Steven Roberts, another VLT supporter, proposed charging a $4 per log-in fee on operators.
Roberts’ plan is based on a 1993 law that charges land-based casinos a $2 tax on every patron who walks through their doors (with some limitations). The proposed amendment adjusts that $2 for inflation, hiking it up to $4.16. The fee would cap out at $4.16 every two hours, or $49.95 per customer, per day.
State Senator, and VLT proponent, Karla May acknowledged the absurdity of the situation in a statement reported on by SBC Americas saying, “It’s just the absurdity of the conversation and the absurdity in saying that, you know, we don’t want to expand gambling but you’re gonna do sportsbook Come on, they need to stop.”
Debate on Missouri’s sports betting future continues this week, but lawmakers only have until May 2 to work things out before their session is done for the year.