St. Louis Cardinals President Frustrated by Absence of Missouri Sports Betting

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Aug 21, 2023 12:00 AM
St. Louis Cardinals team president Bill DeWitt II is frustrated by the absence of Missouri sports betting.

The president for the St. Louis Cardinals, Bill DeWitt II, would like the world to know he’s displeased with how the Missouri sports betting discussion has been directed.

He would also like us to know that he, unequivocally, blames Senator Denny Hoskins for how talks about sports betting in Missouri have panned out.

DeWitt isn’t necessarily unique in this regard. Many policymakers in the state and industry experts believe Senator Hoskins is most responsible for scuttling Missouri’s legal sports betting efforts.

This, of course, doesn’t mean DeWitt’s words should be taken as gospel. As others will be quick to point out, he has a vested interest in the future of Missouri sports gambling as an MLB team president. The Cardinals, like every other pro sports franchise, can open up new and lucrative revenue streams if The Show-Me State follows in the footsteps of what’s now more than 30 other states.

So, what should we make of DeWitt’s sports betting stance? Let’s dig into his recent interview with Legal Sports Report to find out.

Cardinals’ DeWitt Sees Senator Hoskins as the Main Obstacle to Missouri Sports Betting

Speaking with Pat Evans of LSR, DeWitt didn’t mince words on how he feels about Mr. Hoskins and how the Senator has impeded, if not torpedoed, sports wagering efforts:

“We don’t think Denny is serious. The definition of insanity, this situation, is in the dictionary. The door for negotiation is always open. But when you insist on doing the business of Illinois gray-machine companies, it makes it tough. Obviously, he has been our issue. We are ready to negotiate with him and he’s shared no interest. We’re frustrated, it’s a winning issue.

We think it will happen, it’s just a matter of when.”

When DeWitt says that Hoskins is “doing the business of Illinois gray-machine companies,” he’s referring to the Senator’s repeated push to include Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) as part of any sports betting measure. Though Hoskins has denied being married to the idea, he’s filibustered in each of the past two legislative sessions to neutralize Missouri sports betting proposals that didn’t incorporate the legalization of VLTs. On one occasion, he even tried to shoehorn language into an initiative that would have green lit VLT usage throughout the state. That sports betting bill promptly died. 

Adding fuel to the fire: Hoskins has received campaign contributions from companies with vested interests in the approval and usage of VLTs. As Evans noted for LSR: “Since 2017, Hoskins received multiple donations from Illinois-based J&J Ventures Gaming, as well as the Missouri Coin Operators Association PAC and the MO Coalition For Video Lottery PAC, according to Missouri Ethics Commission campaign finance reports. The main funders for the Video Lottery PAC are J&J Ventures, Las Vegas-based Golden Entertainment and Illinois-based Accel Entertainment Gaming. Those organizations have contributed more than $10,000 to Citizens for Hoskins.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots here. Hoskins’ ties to the VLT community seem so inextricably strong, many wonder whether the legalization of sports betting in Missouri has a puncher’s chance of passing while he’s in office.

Missouri Legislators Planning Another Sports Gambling Bill in 2024

For anyone worried Senator Hoskins’ antics might dissuade Missouri from making another attempt at legal sports gambling next year, DeWitt has some good news: That’s not going to be the case. Policymakers plan to introduce another initiative at the next round of legislative sessions. 

Whether this makes a difference remains to be seen. LSR noted that many inside the state are skeptical a 2024 sports betting measure will pass almost entirely because of how committed Hoskins is to the VLT agenda. 

And if Missouri cannot push a sports betting bill through next year, they must wait until 2026 for the next general election ballot. 

Can Missouri Sports Betting Get Done with Senator Hoskins Still in Office?

Despite the challenge that Senator Hoskins poses, members of a coalition that backs legal Missouri sports gambling are optimistic a deal can get done in 2024. 

The group in question is headlined by many influential lawmakers, supported by some of the best online sportsbooks in the United States and even includes DeWitt himself. And for the time being, it’s hard to tell if their optimism is warranted or misplaced.

Unless something changes, most Missouri lawmakers don’t seem willing to budge on their VLT opposition. Conversely, Senator Hoskins has noted he doesn’t intend to move off his convictions, either. That, in theory, doesn’t bode well for the next round of discussions.

Still, DeWitt and the pro-sports-betting coalition have indicated they are willing to negotiate on a number of other issues that hold importance to Hoskins. It isn’t immediately clear what those topics might be. But they could perhaps be prominent enough to coax Senator Hoskins into a compromise. 

Then again, if this were on the table, wouldn’t a deal have been struck already? Should we really believe legislators haven’t already attempted to change Senator Hoskins’ position with these same concessions? That seems far-fetched.

Maybe it’s not. Maybe the state’s lawmakers underestimated how effective Senator Hoskins’ filibustering would be. And maybe, just maybe, a 2024 Missouri sports betting bill can make it through both the House and Senate. But in all honesty, “maybe” is doing a lot of lifting here. We’ll believe the state overcomes their Senator Hoskins problem when we see it. Until then, Missouri’s best shot at legal sports betting may come when Senator Hoskins potentially vacates his post—after 2025.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs:

  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS
    Bovada
    4.3/5
    50% bonus up to $250
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetOnline
    4.1/5
    100% bonus up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS
    BetUS
    4.4/5
    125% up to $2,500
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Xbet
    4.3/5
    $500 Sign-up Bonus
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetNow
    4.5/5
    100% up to $1,000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • MyBookie
    50% bonus up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Bookmaker
    100% up to $400
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Sportsbetting
    3.6/5
    50% up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • EveryGame
    $500 Sign Up Bonus
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • WagerWeb
    3.5/5
    100% up to $1,000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetDSI
    3.3/5
    100% up to $500 + $500 at BetDsi's Casino
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetNow
    4.3/5
    100% up to $450
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read our affiliate disclosure here.