Missouri Pro Sports Teams Pushing to Legal Sports Betting in 2022

Missouri Pro Sports Teams Pushing to Legal Sports Betting in 2022

The race to bring legal sports betting to Missouri before the local legislature adjourns on May 13 is heating up. So much so, in fact, that professional sports franchises throughout the state have joined the push to bring about change. With so many in favor of legalizing sports gambling, and with so much money on the line, should we expect Missouri to take the plunge 33 other states have already made? Let's break it all down.

It is no longer difficult to find legal online sports betting in the USA. On the contrary, more than half of the United States has given sports gambling the green light—33 of the 50 states to be exact. And yet, Missouri continues to hold out, despite plenty of efforts from lobbyists, private citizens and even some government officials.

So what gives? A lot of factors. And there's real urgency behind trying to address them. The latest legislative session is set to adjourn on May 13, giving the state just a few short months to introduce a policy that can bring legal sports betting to Missouri in 2022.

The stakes are so high, in fact, that some bigger guns are officially joining the fold. Missouri pro sports teams have banded together to push for legal sports betting in 2022. But will they be successful?

Pro Sports Teams Want Legal Betting in Missouri

Across many other states, there hasn't needed to be as much involvement from lobbyists and other outside parties—such as professional sports franchises. Most places that have legalized sports betting understand the revenue they stand to make and have seen all the money others are raking in, and that's been enough.

In Missouri's case, though, the government has yet to move off their hard-line stance. The state's 13 casinos have all thrown their support behind legal sports betting in Missouri, and still, nothing has gotten done. The state senate is instead moving at slower than a snail's pace on the subject.

This has prompted those tied to professional sports teams throughout the state to make their case. At the most recent Senate Apportions Committee on March 9, Bill DeWitt III, the president of MLB's St. Louis Cardinals, spoke out in support of sports betting legalization. Though neither he nor anyone else from one of Missouri's many pro sports teams supported any specific measure, they all talked about why legalizing sports betting in some form is both beneficial and necessary.

Why are Pro Sports Teams Joining the Sports Betting Discussion?

This shouldn't be classified as a real mystery. Professional sports teams don't technically get any money directly from sports betting, since they are not licensed book operators, but they all stand to make millions of dollars through sponsorships, advertising and even as pop-up kiosk partners. 

We've seen it happen time and again throughout the United States. As soon as markets legalize sports betting, pro teams start teaming up with online bookmakers to create fan experiences, generate promo codes and even accept on-site bets at the venues that carry their games. Sports teams are, in turn, able to command a pretty penny from their involvement, because they offer a direct line to large fanbases.

Missouri, of course, is not the biggest sports market in the United States. But it's also far from the smallest. They have the Cardinals and Kansas City Royals in MLB; the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL; St. Louis Blues in the NHL; the St. Louis Soccer Club in MLS; and a handful of nationally relevant collegiate sports programs, including the basketball and football teams at Missouri State.

Point being: The reach of all these collective organizations is extensive, and their fanbases are some of the most engaged in all of sports. If sports betting becomes legal in Missouri, they all stand to turn a lucrative annual profit.

Will Missouri Legalize Sports Gambling Anytime Soon?

Pro sports teams aren't the only entities missing out on potential revenue at the moment. The state of Missouri is currently passing on what many project to be millions in tax revenue.

Experts actually think Missouri could generate up to $160-plus million in the first year of legalized sports betting. And they may be dead on. We have already seen states with smaller populations earn around $50 million annually (like Arizona). Missouri is not only more densely populated, but they are among the states with the leverage necessary to charge a 20-plus tax rate to licensed sportsbooks.

This is the argument pro sports teams are making as well—and they're doing so louder than ever. And while their intentions may be self-serving, that doesn't mean they don't have a point. See, among the benefits of legal sports betting is actual regulation. Right now, residents in Missouri still have the ability to cross state lines and place a wager or find an operator from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks in 2022 that will accept a bet from their region.

Missouri doesn't get a cut from any of that business. By legalizing sports betting throughout the state, they absolutely can. It will take work and investment; online infrastructures and overall regulations need to be put in place. But online bookmakers are more than willing to foot the overhead costs when it comes to cracking a premier sports market like that in Missouri.

Financially, then, there is zero downside for the state. And though there may be certain moral oppositions to sports betting, those arguments ring hollow. Sports betting is already happening in Missouri. The state isn't preventing anything by refusing to legalize it. In all actuality, the only thing the Missouri government has done so far is cost itself a ton of money.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your betting needs: