Missouri has been on the forefront of the legalization movement. In 2019, the Show Me State became the fourth in the country to legalize sports gambling. But while this may come as a surprise to some, the Missouri Gaming Commission had actually been considering regulating and licensing online sportsbooks for years.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 82% of Americans support legal sports betting, while only 13% are opposed. With more people looking for ways to spend their money on the courses and teams they love, it’s clear that now is the right time for the sports betting legalization movement to catch on in Missouri and across the country. Here’s a closer look at when Missouri will legalize sports betting and what this means for the state and for sports fans in the Show Me State:
In 2019, Missouri joined a select group of states that allow legal sports betting. But this wasn’t always the case. Prior to 2019, Missouri banned sports betting, with the exception of members of the military and others affiliated with certain Indian tribes. It was in response to this outdated policy that Missourians began advocating for regulation and legalization of sports betting.
These days, Missouri is one of four states that have legalized sports gambling. The other three are: Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. When will the other 35 states followed suit? It’s difficult to say, but given the current political climate, it seems likely. As of August 2019, 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports gambling. This represents a 450% increase from the three states that initially legalized sports gambling.
It isn’t just a matter of time before legal sports betting comes to the rest of the country. As more people discover the benefits of sports betting, it seems inevitable that all 50 states will follow suit.
What Will This Mean For Missouri?
For years, Missouri has been one of the most progressive states when it comes to legalising a wide variety of industries. If anything else, this latest legalization of sports betting is a testament to Missouri’s open-mindedness and desire to ensure all their residents have the opportunity to succeed. But this doesn’t mean sports betting in Missouri will be without its complications.
First off, while traditional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are allowed to operate within the state, online sportsbooks will have to be licensed and regulated by the Missouri Gaming Commission. Furthermore, the legalisation of sports betting means that some of the biggest American sports leagues, like the NFL and NBA, will now be able to enforce their own rules in Missouri, such as prohibiting patrons from placing bets on teams that they support.
One of the main reasons behind the legalization of sports betting in Missouri is the state’s unemployment rate. In 2019, it was 6.8%, which is below the national average but still quite high. In 2017, the Kansas City area had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 13.3%. Many Kansas City residents turned to sports betting in order to make some extra cash. In 2019, Missouri’s legal gambling industries gave over $1 billion in revenue, a figure that is expected to climb to $2 billion annually by 2023.
Another positive effect of legal sports betting in Missouri is the opportunity to engage in inter-state lotteries. In 2019, over $130 million was wagered on sports betting events within Missouri’s borders. But given the size of the state, there’s certainly a demand for inter-state lotteries, particularly since many states no longer offer them. This is why many people see legal sports betting in Missouri as a step forward in terms of offering entertainment and competition to state residents. It also offers a way for people to play games they might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in.
How Will This Affect The Sports World In Missouri?
Even though Missouri has legalized sports betting, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all professional sports will become available for bettors to wager on. Professional teams are still permitted to set their own betting limits and odds, as they have always been. But with more people looking for ways to wager on the games they love, it’s changed the dynamic of sports betting in Missouri. And for the better.
Even before sports betting was legal in Missouri, it was uncommon for professional sports teams to set odds and limits on their games. This was often done to ensure that big wagers couldn’t outmanoeuvre the house edge, but it also limited the entertainment value of watching games for fans. Now that sports betting is legal, these restrictions have been lifted, and professional sports teams can begin to experiment with more interactive fan experiences. These could include betting markets where fans can place wagers on the outcome of games, as well as the establishment of betting lines, meaning that fans can now react to the news of games as they unfold, instead of having to wait until the end of the game to find out the final score.
It would be an understatement to say that the world of sports is changing. Thanks to the explosion of the online sports betting market and major sports leagues adopting a more open-minded approach to gaming, traditional rules and restrictions no longer apply. While some people may fear these changes, allowing for more competitions and interaction in the world of sports is bound to lead to increased entertainment value for everyone.
What About The Illegal Sports Betting Market?
While the overall legal sports betting market is growing, the underground market is still very much alive and well. Despite the legalisation of sports betting in most states, the practice remains largely unregulated and is therefore still considered illegal by many. It’s also worth noting that since some states have already banned sports betting, underground bookmakers often have to operate within the borders of other states where it is legal. This complicates matters regarding consumer protection and ensures that customers are still vulnerable to predatory practices, such as rigged odds and fraudulent bookmakers, if they decide to participate in the underground market.
According to the US Department of Justice, over a million sports bets are placed annually in the US, and over 95% of those bets are placed either illegally or outside of the legal framework. This puts the integrity of the sports betting market at risk, since it is not possible to enforce real-world odds or ensure that the games are being played fairly.
Will The Legalization Of Sports Betting Help Attract More People To Racing?
One of the interesting factors surrounding the legalization of sports betting in Missouri is the impact it could have on the state’s gaming industry. According to Jack Lupinacci, the Executive Director of the Missouri Gaming Commission, there is already a demand for sports books in the state, with over 160 venues, including bars and restaurants, looking to get involved in some way. This means that more people could be encouraged to participate in the world of racing. As of August 2019, Missouri has over 140,000 active members of various horse racing groups, such as the Missouri Thoroughbred Association and the Missouri Breeders Association, which could potentially be attracted to legal sports betting venues and offerings.
There is also the option for sports betting venues and groups to partner with established horse racing tracks and get a cut of the take from wagers placed at those locations. This cut could be used to fund the development of youth sports in Missouri and to acquire new racing equipment. This is one area where the legalized sports betting in Missouri could really shine, providing a much-needed boost to a state economy that has been devastated by the pandemic. At the very least, this will open up some new revenue streams for state and local governments, as well as the horse racing industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
The legalization of sports betting in Missouri is certainly a step forward in terms of expanding entertainment options and competition for state residents. It also offers a way for people to play games they might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in, as well as increased revenue streams for state economies and the development of new products and markets for established sports leagues.
To learn more about legal sports betting in Missouri, visit the state’s website here. Interested parties should also consult the state’s regulatory guidelines, which can be found here. If you’re looking for a legal sportsbook to place your wagers, you can check out the list of available online bookmakers here.