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Sports wagering tax lowered 20% in bill heading to Missouri Senate

A last-minute amendment lowered the tax rate on sports wagering from 10% to 8% as the Missouri House of Representatives on Thursday approved and forwarded the bill to the Senate.

During the informal perfection of bills on Wednesday, Rep. Wes Rogers, D-Kansas City, told the House the state of Kansas was probably going to pass sports wagering with a 9.75% tax rate.

“Missouri is a better state than Kansas in every possible way,” Rogers said as he introduced the amendment at the end of floor debate. “Our tax rate should be lower. Let’s get ahead of this. And the thing I would add for the people who are skeptical is the tax rate on sports gambling that’s already happening is 0% and 8% is a lot better than that. And it’s also better than the Kansas rate.”

The House voted 115-33 to approve House Bill 2502, sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg.

“This has been a long time coming,” Houx said. “This has been floating around this building for several years now. We have a coalition of five of the six casinos and all our professional sports teams are in agreement.”

All of Missouri’s professional sports teams testified in favor of the bill during a February hearing.

Another amendment requires the state gaming commission, in cooperation with the department of mental health, to develop an annual research report to assess the effects of gaming in the state. It requires a baseline study of the existing occurrence of compulsive gambling in the state, a legal study of the social and economic impacts of gambling, and recommendations on programs and legislative actions to address compulsive gambling.

“The more I looked into this, I realized we need to put some best practices in place to make sure we do this right coming out of the gate,” Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho, said while introducing the amendment. “If you look at other states, many of them didn’t put these things in place and later realized the problems it caused and the uptick in problem gambling. They’re playing catch up and having to (spend) millions of dollars to deal with the problem. We don’t want to do that.”

The bill’s fiscal note reported the department of mental health served approximately 71 consumers through compulsive gambling treatment services in fiscal year 2021, with an average cost of $1,230 per consumer for $87,330. Baker stated an estimated 92,000 Missourians have a gambling addiction and more than 4,000 calls, texts and chats were received from Missourians to a national problem gambling hotline.

Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon, said he supported the bill but was the only member to voice a concern why one casino—located in St. Charles a few miles from his district—didn’t join the supporting coalition.

“I just want to make sure people are aware that (the bill) is not perfect,” Wiemann said.

Rep. Jason Chipman, R-Steelville, said the lone casino’s issue dealt with requirements regarding purchasing wagering information from a single source and stated a remedy is in the bill.

“As the old saying goes, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Chipman said.

This article was originally posted on Sports wagering tax lowered 20% in bill heading to Missouri Senate

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