Missouri Senate president Dave Schatz believes that video slot machines over the state are illegal while professional sports teams launch an initiative to push sports betting legislation through a state-wide ballot.
Sports Betting and Slots Legislation Welcomed in Missouri
Missouri voters could soon have the fate of sports betting in the state in their hands. According to Senate president Dave Schatz, petitioning voters on the matter of sports betting in Missouri could also allow residents to take control over what Schatz believes is a way to also block the illegal slot sector.
Presently, slots are commonplace in locations such as liquor stores and gas stations, something to which Schatz and like-minded legislators have objected vehemently, but have lacked the legislative momentum to do something about.
For Schatz, putting it up to residents to determine the future of gambling in the state is the best way to go. As Schatz imagines things, the people of Missouri would have the opportunity to weigh in on sports betting and introduce some clarity on how video gaming has to be regulated and taxed, a debate that has hit a dead-end over the past years of discussions.
It’s hardly just Schatz who is of the opinion that sports betting should arrive on an expedited timeline, though. Several professional teams from the state have called for quicker action on passing the necessary legislation to make sports betting a fact.
Sports Teams Want the State to Legalize Gambling
The St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis City and the Kansas City Royals have all teamed up to create a ballot language that would lead to the legalization of betting on sporting contests.
Schatz and the teams’ mission seems to overlap as the company behind the allegedly illegal slot terminals is the one that is also opposing any legislative movement in the matter of sports legalization. According to Schatz that is one Torch Electronics, which is also a known donor to political action committees and prominent figures of government.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has described those contributions as “firewalls” intended to block any action against the slot machines. There has been a lot of to-and-fro between the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Torch Electronics, with the former siding with Schatz’s view of the machines as illegal.
Torch has denied all wrongdoing. “We will continue to pursue a ban on what I believe is illegal,” Schatz commented. While there has been a lot of movement in the matter, there have been no collection of signatures to put the matter on the ballot and let Missouri voters decide.
There have been several proposals floated, including the ones from the sports teams and they differ mostly on the subject of college betting and the applicable tax rate, ranging from 6.75% to 21% presently. As Missouri is trying to find a middle ground, Schatz hopes it could be voters who finally solve the problem.