Gaming executives testify for Missouri sports gambling

(Missourinet) Gaming executives from across the nation traveled to Jefferson City to testify Thursday afternoon before a Missouri House committee about sports wagering.

Executive Chris Krafcik of San Francisco-based Eilers and Krejcik Gaming tells the House Special Interim Committee on Gaming that if Missouri allows sports betting only at land-based facilities like casinos, it would generate about $95 million annually in revenue.

“The second assumes that Missouri allows sports betting at both land-based facilities and via mobile devices from anywhere within the state’s borders,” Krafcik testifies. “And in this scenario, Missouri’s legal sports betting industry would generate approximately $289 million in revenue.”

Executives from Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming also testified on Thursday, for legislation to legalize sports betting in Missouri. Boyd employs about 2,500 Missourians at its Ameristar Kansas City and St. Charles casinos, combined.

Boyd Gaming’s Ryan Soultz tells lawmakers that legalizing sports betting in other states has boosted foot traffic in casinos and has produced additional jobs.

“Now you have a new crowd coming in that wants to watch football, and they want to bet on football and hang out in the sports book all day,” says Soultz. “And while they’re there, they are buying food and beverage.”

Fantasy sports provider “Fan Duel” also testified, saying they’re excited about the possibility of legalized sports betting in Missouri. An executive from Boston-based fantasy sports provider DraftKings also testified.

The House Special Interim Committee on Gaming heard about three hours of testimony, primarily from gaming executives. Committee Chairman Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, tells Missourinet the executives were “in lockstep” in what they want in legalized sports betting here.

“They want to make sure that it’s easy to use, secure, fair for the consumer,” Shaul says.

The “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” has reported that at least 18 other states and the District of Columbia allow residents 21 and older to bet on collegiate and professional sports.

Major League Baseball executives will travel to Jefferson City to testify before the committee on November 7, about sports wagering. The committee will submit its report to the full House by December, ahead of the 2020 session.

Thursday was the committee’s fourth hearing.

State Reps. Robert Ross, R-Yukon, and Cody Smith, R-Carthage, filed sports wagering bills in 2019, but they died because of a lack of consensus in the Legislature. Representative Ross tells Missourinet he plans to file a similar but improved bill for 2020.

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