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Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer thinks legalizing sports betting in Missouri is possible next year

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, during the first day of the legislative session at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, shown in January 2023, is the sponsor of an omnibus public safety bill that has passed the Senate but still needs House approval.

Over the last couple of legislative sessions, efforts to legalize sports betting have gotten held up in the Senate over disagreements on whether the state should also authorize video lottery terminals.

This year, similar legislation that would authorize sports gambling has not even received a hearing in the Senate, while a proposed constitutional amendment ballot item that would legalize sports betting is currently collecting signatures.

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, has sponsored sports betting legislation the last couple of years. He said he filed a bill this year to keep the conversation going.

“This legislation is about two things: one, making sure that we're keeping those educational tax dollars here in Missouri and not subsidizing the schools of our border states. And secondly, making sure we're setting up a regulated environment where consumers are protected,” Luetkemeyer said.

The bill has stalled in prior sessions and is unlikely to pass this year. Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, the main proponent of video lottery terminals, which has stalled sports betting legislation, is serving his final year.

Luetkemeyer believes that while there are other senators in support of the gaming machines, he doesn’t think they will obstruct the sports betting legislation after Hoskins is gone.

“My belief is the people who are supportive of that will want to try to attach it to the bill, but they're not going to go the next further step, which is if they cannot attach a VLT amendment to a clean sports wagering bill, they won't stand up and kill the underlying legislation,” Luetkemeyer said.

Luetkemeyer is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. Here are some other topics he spoke about on the show:

  • Legislation that would provide restitution to wrongfully incarcerated people. This was a reason why Gov. Mike Parson vetoed last year’s public safety bill. Luetkemeyer said he would like to try to pass the bill again in a future session.
  • Provisions within his public safety bill, including a measure that creates a penalty for celebratory gunfire.
  • A bill he’s sponsoring this session that offers a fix to his legislation passed last year that provides a property tax freeze for seniors. Currently, some seniors who have pensions but don’t collect Social Security do not qualify for the property freeze.
  • How he feels the 2024 legislative session has gone so far.

Luetkemeyer was first elected to the Missouri Senate in 2018. He represents the 34th District, which includes parts of Platte and Buchanan counties.
Outside of the legislature, Luetkemeyer practices law in Kansas City.

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.