Sports betting advocates claim 300,000 signatures for initiative

April 22, 2024



With over two weeks left before initiative petition submissions must be turned into the Secretary of State’s office, the Winning for Missouri Education Coalition said Wednesday that it has collected over 300,000 signatures.

The number of signatures easily exceeds the 180,000 valid signatures which must be turned in by May 5. The campaign said in a press release that it plans to collect roughly 325,000 signatures before that date.

Signatures still have to be verified by the Secretary of State’s office before the initiative can be certified for the November general election ballot.

If passed, the proposed initiative would allow Missourians to participate in legal sports betting, regulated by the Missouri Gaming Commission. Sports wagering would be taxed at 10% and generate tens of millions of dollars for Missouri public education, under the proposal put forth by the group.

Winning for Missouri Education took on a ballot initiative after many years of failed attempts in the legislature. In recent years, bills to allow sports wagering died because of attempts by Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, to include state regulation of video lottery terminals in hopes of raising money for veterans’ homes and cemeteries.

“The tremendous support we’ve seen throughout the state is a testament to Missourians’ readiness to bring sports betting revenue home and support our local schools, students and teachers in the process,” Winning for Missouri Education spokesperson Jack Cardetti said in the release.

The Coalition, led by the state’s six professional sports organizations, has not only received a lot of support through signatures but through financial contributions as well. Betfair contributed over $2 million, FanDuel $1.75 million, DK Crown $1.5 million and DraftKings $750,000, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

The proposed 10% tax on gambling was criticized for being too low at a House committee hearing earlier this year.

Bob Priddy, a former statehouse reporter turned lobbyist, said the proposed 10% tax would cause the state to lose its ability to regulate sports betting. Priddy said the Missouri Gaming Commission budget has declined 25% since fiscal year 2013 with 23 fewer employees.

The proposed 10% tax falls in the range of taxes levied by other states that have already approved sports betting. Some states like New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island have set tax rates as high as 51%.