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Missouri Sports Betting Campaign Secures Surplus Signatures for November Ballot

Jessica Aletor
Written by Jessica Aletor
May 13, 2024
Missouri Sports Betting Campaign Secures Surplus Signatures for November Ballot

A citizen-led proposal for the legalization of sports betting in Missouri has garnered over 340,000 adult voter signatures, making a constitutional amendment ballot possible in November.
On May 2, 2024, the Winning for Missouri Education group submitted the petition to Missouri’s State Secretary, essentially calling for the inclusion of a sports betting initiative on the state’s November ballot referendum.

Missouri is one of the 12 states in the U.S. without a legal online sports betting industry despite being home to Kansas City Chiefs, one of the NFL’s most predominant teams. While there have been multiple attempts to change the status quo, proposed bills have typically failed at the Senate level.

This has forced pro sports franchises in the state to form Winning for Missouri Education, a coalition charged with taking independent action. Some of the founding members of the group are Kansas City Chiefs (NFL), Kansas City Royals (MLB), St. Louis Cardinals (MLB), St. Louis Blues (NHL), and Kansas City Current (MLS).

Although the petition initially needed just about 171,592 voter signatures before a May 5 deadline, it surpassed that number with more than enough time to spare.

Petition Hopes to Bypass Years of Failed Legislative Attempts to Legalize Sports Betting

With the security of over 168,000 excess signatures, the odds of the petition securing a place for the sports betting question on November’s ballot is more likely than ever. But for now, Missouri’s State Secretary, Jay Ashcroft and his office will validate the signatures to ensure they meet the minimum required.

“We are grateful for the support from Missouri’s professional sports franchises, who have been crucial in creating the opportunity for Missourians to vote directly on this issue in November,” Jack Cardetti, the spokesperson for Winning for Missouri Education said.

Petitioners can wait to hear if the initiative will make the ballot around July. If they are confirmed, voters in the Show-Me State will head to the ballot and decide on whether they want sports betting while they simultaneously vote to elect the next U.S. President this November.

Afterwards, Missourians will simply need a majority vote to confirm the legalization of sports betting in the state, if the approval process doesn’t change before then. This is because the General Assembly is currently considering a bill that will require future constitutional amendments to get a majority vote across the state and also approval from not less than five congressional districts.

Education Funding Takes Centre Stage in Sports Betting Measure Referendum

The sports betting initiative will see the 13 riverboat casinos in Missouri offer residents of the state both retail and online sports wagering options. All six pro teams in the state will also enjoy a similar benefit. As proposed by the referendum, the Missouri Gaming Commission will regulate the industry and have rights to license two mobile sports betting operators to either a retail casino or a professional franchise.

Ultimately, the petitioners believe the signatures gathered is a pivotal step to securing important revenue for education in the state. The law, if passed, will impose a 10% tax on sports betting activities that will be directed to help pay Missouri teachers who are the least paid in the U.S.

“As one of only 12 states without legalized sports betting, Missouri took a significant step forward today in ensuring that these revenues stay in Missouri to help our communities and classrooms,” Cardetti revealed.

Missouri appears ripe for sports wagering action. GeoComply estimated that about 431,000 Missouri unsuccessfully attempted to place bets during Super Bowl weekend. Legalizing sports betting will see hundreds of millions of dollars redirected to state coffers that would have otherwise been lost to offshore betting platforms or neighboring states.

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