MLB, Royals, Cardinals Support Missouri Measure
Missouri’s two major league baseball teams, the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball recently announced they support state Rep. Cody Smith’s measure, House Bill 119, which would allow betting on college and professional sports. Testifying at a House committee hearing, MLB Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Bryan Seeley said the measure would “protect baseball and its fans by providing consumer protections and a strong regulatory framework” for sports betting.
Smith’s bill would tax sports wagers at 6.25 percent, with a portion directed to the state’s Gaming Proceeds for Education Fund. It also includes a royalty for professional sports’ governing bodies—a provision that has been rejected by all other states. Specifically, one-quarter of 1 percent of gaming revenues from bets on Football Bowl Subdivision and Division I basketball would go to the National Collegiate Athletics Association, paid to member schools for compliance; three-quarters of a percent of revenue on professional sports wagers would go to the sports’ governing bodies, such as MLB.
Smith’s bill also would require groups or companies offering sports bets under the new law to notify the Missouri Gaming Commission of any illegal action or bets by the companies or bettors or of any “abnormal wagering activity or patterns that may indicate a concern regarding the integrity of a sporting event or events.”
Cardinals President William DeWitt III said, “Legalized sports betting legislation in Missouri must protect the game of baseball and its fans from the risks of corruption associated with sports betting. HB 119 contains the right balance of protections and regulations to accomplish that goal while ensuring that Missouri creates a safe and ultimately successful sports betting market. For these reasons, it has our support.”
Kansas City Royals Senior Vice President of Business Kevin Uhlich added, “We believe any law on sports betting must include necessary regulations and requirements to guard against any potential corruption. House Bill 119 is the only legislation that clears the high bar our fans, our sport and our state deserve.”