Missouri Sports Teams Unite To Legalize Sports Betting

Thirty-eight US states have legalized sports betting in some shape or form and so has Washington DC. One of the few remaining holdouts? The Show-Me State, as the state of Missouri is called. However, if the local pro teams have any say, that will be changing sooner rather than later.

In a surprising move, the sports teams in Missouri joined together to gain support for legal sports betting. Calling themselves a committee called Winning for Missouri Education (more on the education part later on), they gathered signatures from voters who want legal wagering. In total, they attracted more than 340,000 people to sign — a decent sum of people in a state with a population of just over 6 million people. The signatures came from 8 percent of the registered voter base in at least six of the eight congressional districts in Missouri so it’s not like they were cherry-picking support either.

But in a move of public relations smarts, the teams made a spectacle out of it. They had team mascots — Cardinals’ mascot Fredbird, Royals’ Sluggerrr and St. Louis Blues’ mascot Louie — hand-deliver the votes. These furry animals brought boxes of votes straight to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office in Jefferson City.

These signatures also serve a purpose. You see, the signatures can get the issue on the ballot IF Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft validates them. Campaigns need roughly 180,000 votes to qualify so this should be enough to get sports betting “up the chain of command.”

The entire initiative is an attempt to go around the Senate, which has repeatedly shot down bills to allow sports betting in Missouri. After so many attempts, it makes sense to sidetrack them completely rather than try to change any opinions. This initiative works by adding legal sports wagering to the state constitution if approved by voters, Senators be damned.

Here’s how the constitutional amendment would work: it would grant legal sports betting to each of Missouri’s 13 casinos and six professional sports teams. In fact, teams would have control over betting — advertising and within 400 yards (366 meters) of their stadiums and arenas. The amendment would also give licenses to two sports betting operators. Surely, that would cause a bidding of war of sorts between the big-name operators like BetMGM, DraftKings, ESPN Bet, FanDuel, and others. If approved by voters, sports betting would have to launch no later than Dec. 1, 2025.

But here’s the kicker: this legalization is motivated by improved education in Missouri. That’s because, under the initiative, the lion’s share of the tax revenue created would go toward funding elementary, secondary, and higher education. At least $5 million would also go toward problem gambling programs.

Why Are Missouri Pro Teams So Adamant About Legal Betting?

Make no mistake, this is a team-led initiative. They are using their brand’s power and natural connection with fans to influence voters. In total, six teams — St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Current, and St. Louis City soccer team — make up the initiative. We can’t remember another state that inspired this type of joint effort from its professional teams.

Question is, “why?” Welp, no surprise here, it’s probably motivated by money — more so for themselves than education funding, if we’re being honest. Remember earlier when we mentioned the initiative would give each of the six teams control of betting around its stadium? Well, that’s a big-money opportunity.

Sports teams AND leagues have embraced betting as a new and lucrative way to increase revenues. Outside of media rights deals with television and streamers, gambling stands to be the second-biggest profit-generator for the industry. We mean, have you seen the type of money the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel are throwing around in advertising and sponsorship dollars? Welp, these Missouri-based teams want in on that.

Missouri teams have sat idly and watched other teams bank millions off betting. The neighboring states to Missouri — Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kansas — have already legalized sports betting and profited big off it. Only the state of Oklahoma has not legalized in terms of Missouri’s neighbors.

The Chiefs, in particular, have to be licking their chops right now. They are the most must-see team in the NFL and likely continue to be as long as Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, boyfriend of Taylor Swift, are around. The team is a box-office attraction and that makes them incredibly attractive to sports betting companies looking to spend advertising dollars.

How To Bet Online In Missouri?

Are you finding yourself in Missouri and waiting to bet on sports online? You can actually despite it not being legal. That is, if you use an offshore betting site to place bets. This is completely do-able because as offshore operations, these sportsbooks don’t have to answer to US or Missouri regulations. Until Missouri legalizes, offshore betting is the only way to get online gambling action in-state.

The five offshore sportsbooks featured below are most worth a look. We’ve reviewed hundreds of online bookies, and these five consistently grade out the highest:

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Eric Uribe

Eric was born and raised in Nevada — the center of gambling in the United States. Throw in his natural interest in sports, and Eric was destined to be a sports bettor. This came to a head once Eric turned 21. Already a working sports journalist while in college, Eric began betting at his local sportsbook. Despite massive losses (at first), Eric continued to chip away at wagering. Eventually, he got half-decent at it. Now Eric is a trusted betting analyst. Not only is he skilled at making picks, but also breaking down the state of the industry — legalization, revenue, and innovation. You can read Eric's writings exclusively on OSB.