Mizzou taking the lead on sports betting legislation

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

Mizzou’s athletic department has taken a proactive approach to address its stake in what the future of legal sports betting in the United States might look like.

Just days after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a federal law which made betting on sports illegal for Missouri residents, Mizzou’s athletic department has taken a prominent position in acting in its own interest as the debate over what the framework of legal sports betting in the United States will look like heats up.

According to ESPN’s David Purdum and Darren Rovell, three NCAA-member institutions were part of a conference call with Major League Baseball on Thursday. The call was primarily about strategy for pushing for operators of games to receive a cut of the revenue created from betting on those games. Mizzou was one of the three schools on the call, along with Rutgers and UConn.

This news comes less than a week after a report stated that a deal had been reached in West Virginia on a framework for legalized sports betting within that state’s borders which gave a cut of revenue to Marshall and the Mountaineers and just days after the NCAA suspended its ban on hosting championship events in states with legalized sports betting.

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Although the possible inclusion of Marshall and West Virginia in sports betting revenue could have a ripple effect for Mizzou as the Missouri legislature considers the topic, the activity that Mizzou was a part of on this conference call probably has a much higher objective than affecting legislation in the Show-Me State.

As opposed to a patchwork of varying regulations in several states, like what exists in the daily fantasy sports industry, Mizzou is probably investigating what role it can play in creating a framework for sports betting that would be established by the federal government in the United States.

It would be far easier for schools like Mizzou to get cut in to sports betting revenue in that model than by having to convince legislators at the state level, many of whom have been resistant to the argument that game operators should be included.

It’s unclear at this point how prominent a role Mizzou will play in this drama going forward, but it’s obviously at least “kicking the tires.” Instead of being reactionary on this subject as a member of the most-lucrative college sports conference in the country, Mizzou is taking the tiger by the tail.