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Capitol Briefs: VLTs, sportsbook bill laid over in the Senate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — For the second night in a row, the Missouri Senate hit pause on a substantial gaming bill covering everything from video lottery terminals (VLTs) to sports betting. 

SB 98, sponsored by Sen. Denny Hoskins, would establish the Missouri Video Lottery Control Act, which would legalize and control VLTs in Missouri veteran and fraternal organizations and allow the State Lottery Commission to issue VLT licenses to manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and businesses. Funds collected from additional provisions on sports betting would go toward community organizations, the Missouri Financial Assistance Fund, and the Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund

“I’ve worked hard to alleviate the concerns that have been brought to me over this bill,” Hoskins said Tuesday night. “I served on the Veterans Commission as a state representative, and I know they are in dire need of additional funding.”

  • Hoskins tabled the discussion for the second evening in a row after more than two hours of debate, placing the bill back on the informal perfection calendar.
  • A bevy of amendments were attached to the piece over its two nights on the upper chamber’s floor; language increasing penalties for operators of so-called “gray games” and allowing digital sportsbook betting were included by Hoskins. However, the amendments were part of a substitute that was ultimately voted down by the body. 
  • The final amendment of the evening from Sen. Mike Moon would have put the measure to a vote of the people if it were to pass this session. 
  • Hoskins’ bill would see operators paying an application fee and an annual licensing fee to the Missouri Gaming Commission and allow it to partner with various law enforcement agencies to investigate potentially illegal gaming operations.

“I am disappointed SB 98 reached an impasse on the Senate floor last night. However, I am not discouraged,” Hoskins said Wednesday. “I will continue to work with those willing to implement a regulated gaming environment and provide over $200 million in new revenue to education and veterans, in lieu of the unregulated, illegal market that exists today in Missouri.”

Hoskins has sponsored VLT legislation annually since 2017.

This story has been updated. It was originally published April 27.