Missouri, Kansas and Georgia all have something in common, they’re three of the latest states seeking to get onboard the sports gambling bandwagon in the US, and take advantage of the massive amounts of revenue that can potentially be generated. If they’re successful, half of the states in the nation will have access to legal sports gambling, and over half of the entire population will be able to place bets on sporting events.
It’s important to state “legal sports gambling,” since sports gambling has always been available. By some accounts, as much as $150 billion has been spent each year by Americans using offshore gambling sites, but this carries a few issues. At a tax rate of just 10%, states are losing about $15 billion a year in potential revenue. In addition, gamblers have no recourse in the event a site suddenly disappears with their funds – a problem that has already happened on more than one occasion – and they have no one to complain to if the site decides to arbitrarily change the rules.
Missouri And Its Neighbors
Over 20 states now offer legal sports gambling, and those states that don’t are finding out that their residents have no problem hopping over the border to place their wagers. Missouri has to contend with neighbors like Iowa, Illinois and Arkansas getting in on the action, and state lawmakers realize that they’re losing out on a valuable revenue resource. This week, the House Committee on Government Oversight began exploring two bills that would lead to legal sportsbooks in the state, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Details such as licensing fees, taxes, etc., still need to be worked out. However, seeing as how Iowa picked up $1.5 million in tax revenue in its first six months, lawmakers will certainly be willing to work hard to find a compromise that makes everyone happy.
Senator Marci Francisco aptly explains the necessity of legalizing sports online gambling, explaining to local news outlet KSNT, “It’s not a new outlet because I think we know that it’s happening, we hope that it’s a new safer outlet. Why not have it controlled by the state, and then make sure for those people who are participating in that wagering that it’s non-offshore, that they know that their bets will be acknowledged?”
Kansas Gambling Situation
In Kansas, lawmakers in the Senate just approved, by a vote of 23-15, a sports gambling bill. The bill was then sent to the House, but this chamber is working on its own version, as well, which is going to cause some delays in the approval process. Senate VP Jeff Longbine is confident that legislators will come together, though, and states, “It certainly put us in a position where we can establish sports gaming in Kansas and pull, hopefully pull, wagers from a black market, off-shore, unregulated, untaxed market and bring it into Kansas under a regulated, safe market.”
The House will explore the Senate’s bill sometime in March. As with Missouri, there are debates surrounding taxes and fees, but these details have been found in virtually every state that has legalized sports gambling to date. Eventually, lawmakers figure out an equitable solution, understanding that they lose money with every day that passes without some type of approval.
Georgia Also Seeking Sports Gambling
Georgia’s situation is a little different compared to Kansas and Missouri, but can still make things happen. As has been the case in a couple of states, rolling out legal sports gambling, according to some, would require an amendment to the state’s constitution. However, Senator Burt Jones believes he has found a loophole, of sorts, and his Senate Bill 403 contends that statutes can be directly rewritten, without the amendment, to allow sports gambling.
Jones just submitted his legislation this week, so there is still a long road ahead. However, lawmakers in the Peach State are slowly warming up to the idea, recognizing the hard, fast truth. Gamblers will gamble whether it’s illegal or not. By legalizing the activity, everyone wins. Gamblers are protected, state and local governments capture the revenue and, as has been the case in every state that has legalized sports gambling so far, education programs get a much-needed financial boost.