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U.S. Supreme Court decision paves way for sports betting in Missouri

WASHINGTON — Missouri has the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports, following a Monday decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a federal law that barred sports gambling in most states.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was struck down in a 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The law, enacted in 1992, banned sports gambling — animal races were not included — in most states. Exceptions were made for Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware, all of whom had some form of sports betting before the federal law took effect. Nevada is the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner,” said Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting. Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others.”

Five bills were filed in the Missouri General Assembly in 2018 that would legalize sports gambling pending the high court’s decision.

The House Budget Committee held a public hearing in April on three bills that lasted more than four hours. None of the bills have been voted on.

Sen. Caleb Rowden’s bill made it through committee in March but with less than a week of session has yet to hit the Senate floor for debate. When the bill was given committee approval, Rowden called this may be a one- or two-year conversation.