Since the Supreme Court struck down laws that federally prohibit sports betting across the United States and put it in the hands of each state, more and more of the country now has access to fully legal sports betting opportunities. Seeing a massive opportunity for an influx of tax money to come in through legalizing sports betting, the majority of states have done exactly that.
Along with the taxes that would come in through the sportsbooks that went live the minute the necessary legislation went through, legalization also created an environment where it would be much easier to regulate and control something that was already happening but was forced to move through less… reputable channels.
With all these states legalizing sports betting en masse, what does that mean for Missouri? Is sports betting legal here yet and, if not, how long will it take for the situation to change?
Is It Legal Yet in Missouri?
In short, no, sports betting is not legal in Missouri. At least not yet. This means that it is against the law to place any wager on the outcome of a sports game while residing in any city or town in Missouri, either in person or online,
In fact, gambling in Missouri, in general, has some fairly complex and unique laws around it. While online gambling is a gray area in the state, there are no actual brick and mortar casinos in the state at all. At least, not on dry land. The state does, however, permit and is famous for its riverboat casinos, of which it currently has 13 of these floating casinos that offer the usual slots and table games that you would find in a brick-and-mortar casino.
Missouri also allows for betting on horse racing to take place in the state, as well as charitable bingo games and a state lottery whose proceeds go towards education.
When Will It Be Legal?
While there are certain states that are unlikely to allow sports betting any time soon – especially those in the so-called “Bible Belt” – Missourians probably won’t have to wait too long for it to become legal in their state. It almost definitely won’t be this year, but two bills, HB556 and SB30, which call for the legalization of sports betting, actually did pass the House in March this year, but thanks to an eight-hour filibuster by Senator Denny Hoskins who pledged to reject any bill that does not include VLTs (video lottery terminals, or gambling machines like slots) , it failed to get through the senate before the end of their legislative session.
This means that it won’t even be discussed again before early next year, but with Senator Hoskins planning a run for Secretary of State next year and the possibility that VLTs may become part of a similar bill, it’s quite possible that 2024 might be the year when things finally change for sports betting in the state.
Worth keeping in mind, though, is that even if the legislation goes through in early 2024, it will be at least six months before the logistics are in place to actually run sports betting. Most likely, if a legalization bill passes through the state senate next year, sports betting will only become available in Missouri at the start of 2025. This is basically how it has gone for every state that has legalized it over the past half decade.
What to Expect When It Becomes Legal
You can be pretty much assured of two things if and when sports betting becomes legal in Missouri. First, the age limit will almost definitely be 21, rather than 18 as it is in some other states. Sportsbooks will also go live almost the minute the state government gives the go-ahead for sports betting in the state. If sports betting does indeed become widely legally available in Missouri in January 2025 (it most likely will not be before that), expect at least a half dozen online sportsbooks to go live at once, waiting to take your bets and probably offering all sorts of intro bonuses to win over potential customers from the competition.
Until then, though, Missourian gamblers can at least take some comfort in the fact that the state already offers them quite a few alternatives, including those famous riverboat casinos and fantasy football leagues.