Missouri could be one step closer to allowing legal sports gambling.

Under legislation proposed by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, betting on sports would be permitted in-state at casinos and over the internet.

“Currently, any sports book betting that’s done in Missouri right now is technically done illegally,” said Luetkemeyer. “We know that people are placing bets illegally on sports book betting.”

Outside of black-market bookies, sports betting became more widespread following a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that opened up a variety of new and legal digital avenues to place bets.

Luetkemeyer said the high court gave state legislatures the power to implement sports wagering.

“My legislation makes sure people are not placing illegal bets in Missouri — we know that’s happening,” he said. “It also allows the state to generate more revenue by making it legal.”

Currently, there are 14 states that allow for live, legal, single-game sports wagering, according to the American Gaming Association. Of those, two border Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa. In addition, six states have enacted sports gaming but have yet to implement it into law.

According to the nation’s gaming trade association, Missouri is one of nine states looking at the sports gaming issue this legislative cycle. Luetkemeyer’s bill is one of three that is floating through the Senate.

“There’s a lot of interested parties on both sides,” Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said in an interview with KRCG. “My advice to them has been you got to get to the table and try to figure out a path forward. I think they’re a long ways off at this point but there is still a chance. We’ll have I think legalized sports betting in the state in a couple of years, hopefully.”

Luetkemeyer said he believes his bill has traction this year.

“Of all of the bills that I have filed, this is one of the ones I’ve gotten the most feedback about,” he said.

Mark Zinn can be reached at mark.zinn@knpn.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @KNPNZinn.