JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Senate Progress and Development Committee has advanced Sen. Caleb Rowden’s bill to legalize sports waging in Missouri.

SB 1009, backed by Penn National Gaming and the Missouri Gaming Association, was approved without any amendments. The bill puts in place the mechanism for Missouri to legalize sports gambling should the Supreme Court decision allow for states to engage such gaming.

“It is somewhat preemptive,” Rowden said. “We don’t know how the court is going to rule but most people engaged in the issue think they will open [sports betting] up.”

This may be a one- or two-year conversation, according to Rowden.

The bill he put forth is designed to legalize sports betting in a responsible way that doesn’t skirt around existing regulation in the constitution relating to gaming.

Sen. Denny Hoskins has also put forth a bill, backed by Major League Baseball, to legalize sports betting. SB 1013 has received a hearing but has not moved out of committee.

MLB, casinos back differing sports betting bills in Senate

The major difference between the two Senate bills is a 1 percent sports integrity found in Hoskins’ legislation.

“I came to realize after talking to a lot of colleagues that the royalty fee is a nonstarter,” Rowden said. But he is certainly open to a conversation with MLB and sports teams about adding sensible provisions to the legislation.

The House companions to Rowden and Hoskins bills will be heard in the House Budget Committee April 4.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.