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Missouri Moves Forward with Sports Betting Ballot Initiative Backed by Pro Teams



Missouri’s Sports Betting Initiative: A Step Closer to the Ballot Box

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has officially approved the language for a significant sports betting ballot measure, a proposal driven by a coalition of the state’s professional sports teams. This development marks a critical juncture in Missouri’s journey towards legalizing sports betting.

The measure, now advancing to the petition phase, requires organizers to select one of eight proposed versions to present to voters. Their goal is to gather the necessary 170,000 signatures to secure a spot on the ballot for sports betting legalization. Each version of the proposed ballot question shares common elements, including a 10% tax on sports wagering and the establishment of a $5 million fund dedicated to addressing problem gambling.

If voters approve the measure, Missouri’s 13 casinos and professional sports teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals (baseball), St. Louis Blues (hockey), and St. Louis City SC (soccer), would be authorized to offer both retail and online sports betting. This marks a significant expansion in the state’s gaming options, aligning Missouri with a growing number of states embracing sports betting.

Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals, emphasized the coalition’s next steps: meeting with mobile sports betting operators to decide on the best version to advance and strategizing to collect the required signatures. This initiative represents an alternate route to legalization following several unsuccessful legislative efforts in recent years. DeWitt expressed a preference for legislative action, which would circumvent the need for a ballot measure, though he remains realistic about the challenges ahead.


Despite the progress, the success of the sports betting initiative is not guaranteed, as voter sentiment remains uncertain. A recent survey by the Remington Research Group for the Missouri Scout political newsletter revealed that 54% of Missouri voters opposed legal sports betting, with only 26% in favor and 20% undecided. This split in public opinion underscores the challenges that proponents face in garnering widespread support for the legalization of sports betting in Missouri.

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