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Missouri Sports Teams Support Regulated Sports Betting

After years of trying to get Missouri lawmakers to pass a bill legalizing sports betting, a coalition of the states professional sports teams is throwing its collective weight behind a different approach. The Kansas City Chiefs; Kansas City Current; Kansas City Royals; St. Louis Cardinals; St. Louis Blues; and St. Louis SC are all backing a new sports betting measure that will decide the matter via a ballot initiative.

The teams are backing a political action committee (PAC) called Winning for Missouri Education. The group’s goal is to circumvent legislate foot-dragging by getting the matter in front of Missouri voters. They’ll need to gather the signatures of approximately eight percent of Missouri voters to get on the ballot. Given the group’s deep pockets, and incredible access to sports-friendly crowds, that shouldn’t be a big stretch. Winning for Missouri Education has already started gathering signatures at a St. Louis Cardinals charity event and a St. Louis Blues game over this past weekend.

Efforts to legalize sports betting in Missouri at the legislative level have been stymied by lawmaker’s inability to strike a compromise on the matter of video lottery terminals.

If approved, the ballot measure would tax 10 percent of an operator’s revenue, but allow for promotional credits of up to 25 percent of the handle, and that’s not the only industry-friendly move buried in the bill. The bill also specifically defines fantasy sports as a peer-to-peer activity. That’s no doubt thanks to the $250,000 that DraftKings donated to the efforts.

St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III summed up the effort in comments made to the Missouri Independent saying, “Therefore, as we are not optimistic that this pattern will change during the upcoming legislative session, we are currently proceeding with an initiative petition campaign to put the issue of legalized sports wagering on the ballot for Missouri voters in 2024, and, beginning this week, we are launching our campaign and will be collecting signatures to support this initiative petition,”