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Missouri Sports Betting, Casino Petitions Gather Required Signatures

Issue To Be Put On November Ballot If Certified

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Two gambling-related petitions in Missouri appear to have garnered enough signatures to be placed on the ballot in November. The petitions call for a vote on legalizing sports betting, and also allowing for an additional casino in the state on the Lake of the Ozarks.

The next steps in the process will see state and local officials determine whether the signatures are valid and meet the state’s minimum number to proceed.

“The secretary of state’s office has three more weeks to process the petitions and ship them to county clerks to verify the signatures,” the Kansas City Beacon notes. “Those clerks need to return their reports to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office no later than July 30 to prepare for the November vote.”

Validation Process Begins

Most petitions must produce about 171,000 valid signatures for an issue to be put on the ballot. The sports betting proposal got 340,000 signatures and the Lake of the Ozarks casino plan received 320,000.

The sports betting petition began with the backing of some of the region’s professional sports teams after failed legislative efforts. Some of those supporters include the St. Louis Cardinals, Blues, and Royals, and the Kansas City Chiefs. DraftKings and FanDuel have also helped push the petition.

“While the sports wagering bills that we have supported during the past couple of years have overwhelmingly passed in the Missouri House and have also had the support of a majority of the Missouri Senate, those bills have been repeatedly blocked in the Missouri Senate and not allowed to proceed to a vote in the Missouri Senate,” St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said.

The casino plan is backed by Lake Ozark city officials. The city board of aldermen have voted in favor of plans for a casino located on the Osage River, which flows into the large body of water. But state law currently only allows for casinos on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. State law also only allows the Missouri Gaming Commission to license 13 casinos. A new casino would violate both of those requirements.

The Osage River Gaming and Convention has announced a partnership with Bally’s, which owns a casino in Kansas City, for the construction of a possible casino on the river near the lake.