Missouri Eyes Gambling “Integrity Fee”

One of the things that major sports leagues have tried – and largely failed – to get states to do is incorporate an ‘integrity fee’ into their new sports betting legislation. This money, collected from all sports wagers placed, would go to the leagues in a bid to enhance the sports, as well as educate players against match fixing.

Missouri, however, may be the first state to bring its own twist to the “integrity fee” debate. This week, State Senator, Denny Hoskins filed a sports betting legalization bill. Incorporated in this bill is the Entertainment Facilities Infrastructure Fund, which allocates 0.5% of total gross dollars wagered. The difference between this fund and an integrity fee is that instead of the money going to the sports leagues, it will go directly towards enhancing Missouri’s sports stadiums.

It is interesting to see how Hoskins’ bill will be accepted by other stakeholders in the industry. Leagues may not be open to the proposal since they won’t be getting the money directly into their hands.  Other lawmakers won’t like the fact that some of the money is being directed away from what they consider more important causes such as education and welfare.

There are, of course, other bills swirling around the Missouri legal channels that may have more success than what Hoskins’ bill is expected to garner.  Republican Rep. Dean Plocher said that he anticipates sports betting will be brought out for discussion before the House and the Senate in the near future.

Sports betting could bring in anything between $18 million and $40 million to state coffers, depending who you ask.

It also helps Missouri’s case that Governor Mike Parson isn’t opposed to the idea of legalizing sports betting, although he has said that he will not be leading the call to introduce it.

Ever since the US Supreme Court struck down the federal law that restricted the majority of states from offering wagers on bets, Missouri has been keeping the sports betting embers burning. It remains to be seen when the fire will light.

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