Missouri Minute: Lawmakers consider sports betting bills; AMC stock tumbles amid coronavirus

Good morning, MBA readers,

While some plans for expanded gambling could gain traction in the Missouri Legislature with a pair of gaming bills scheduled for a hearing Tuesday afternoon, others are hitting roadblocks amid arguments over penalties and other issues.

The House Special Committee on Government Oversight is holding a hearing on two bills that address sports gambling in different ways. One, from House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, would specifically limit sports wagering to the state’s 13 licensed casinos and on the internet.

The same oversight committee previously approved another bill sanctioning sports betting as well as video lottery terminals. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, would limit such gambling activities to “entertainment districts” like the Power & Light district in Kansas City and Ballpark Village in St. Louis. The proposal also calls on the Missouri Lottery Commission to implement a system of video lottery terminals and issue licenses to video lottery companies.

Bills in the Senate regulating out-of-casino slot machines and sports gambling have slowed down due to bipartisan opposition to proposed penalties. Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, shelved one such bill last week after critics objected to his plan to revoke a store’s liquor license if it’s found with illegal games.

Scroll down to read more about efforts to expand gambling in Missouri and other business news from around the state.

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State lawmakers to hear sports betting bills this week
A Missouri House committee is scheduled to hear testimony on proposals that would legalize sports gambling. A proposal by Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, would legalize sports betting in Missouri’s 13 licensed riverboat casinos and on the internet. The committee will also hear about another bill addressing sports gambling and slot machines, sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters. (Missourinet)

AMC, other area stocks tumble amid coronavirus scares
Shares of Kansas City-area companies fell across the board Monday as investor anxiety over the coronavirus outbreak drove stock markets down more than 3.5%. Leawood, Kansas-based AMC Entertainment Holdings saw its shares drop 5.5% to $7.05. (KCUR)

Mallinckrodt shares plunge as US drugs unit mulls bankruptcy
Shares for Mallinckrodt, which has its U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, closed down 19% Monday following reports that the drugmaker was in talks with creditors about a potential Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company is facing litigation from local and state governments over its role in the national opioid epidemic. (Wall Street Journal, Reuters)

Ozarks casino bill advances in Missouri House
Two Missouri House committees have approved a bill that would authorize a riverboat casino operation near the Lake of the Ozarks. The proposed constitutional amendment, which would go before voters if passed by the legislature, would not increase the state’s cap of 13 casinos, but it would allow a new casino in the Ozarks using an existing license. (Missourinet)

Regional carrier in St. Louis ending operations this year
Bridgeton-based Trans States Airlines, a regional carrier for United Airlines, plans to wind down flights by the end of the year. In an internal memo to staff, Trans States CEO Rick Leach blamed “razor thin” margins, among other factors. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Activist investor plans board challenge after building stake in Olin.
New York-based Sachem Head Capital Management has acquired a 9.4% stake in Olin, the Clayton-based maker of chemicals and ammunition. A filing this week said Sachem Head will try to name four new directors to Olin’s 12-director board. (Reuters)

British agtech firms look to expand in St. Louis
An agricultural technology trade mission of industry and government officials from Britain is visiting St. Louis this week looking to develop long-term partnerships in the area. The delegation includes Agri-TechE, an agtech industry group whose director expressed hope for “potential export opportunities on both sides.” (St. Louis Business Journal)

First Bank sells 14 branches to three competitors
The Creve Coeur-based bank said Monday it is selling 14 branches, mostly in rural markets, to three different competitors. First State Community Bank will buy seven locations, Dieterich Bank five and Royal Banks of Missouri two. Terms were not disclosed. The sales leave First Bank with 80 branches across Missouri, Illinois and California. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Springfield development agency tallies over $88 million in 2019 capital pledges
The Springfield Business Development Corp. helped secure $88.3 million in investment pledges for six projects last year, as well as $14.3 million in new payroll and 321 jobs, according to a report at the organization’s annual meeting. (Springfield Business Journal)

Lambert unveils new biometric screening in Southwest Airlines terminal
St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Monday launched a new biometric security screening system in one of its terminals. The new CLEAR biometric system from Alclear identifies passengers using fingerprints and eye scans. Passengers pay $179 a year to use the system, which is designed to expedite the security process. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC-area financial planning firm to add 33 more advisers this year
Prevail Innovative Wealth Strategies has created a new position to manage the onboarding of new hires as it looks to continue its rapid growth in 2020. The Leawood, Kansas-based financial planning firm, which added 66 advisers in the past two years, plans to add another 33 this year. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Bank of Missouri completes Bolivar Bancshares acquisition
Perryville-based Reliable Community Bancshares, which owns The Bank of Missouri, has finalized its purchase of Bank of Bolivar operator Bolivar Bancshares. The purchase gives Reliable $300 million in new assets and six additional branches. (Springfield Business Journal)

Springfield baseball team sues Hammons trust, JD Holdings
The Springfield Cardinals, the Double-A affiliates for the St. Louis Cardinals, are suing late owner John Q. Hammons’ trust and JD Holdings, which bought Hammons’ assets out of bankruptcy. The lawsuit alleges the trust and JD Holdings have not met at least $8 million in capital improvement obligations at Hammons Field, thereby damaging the team’s reputation. (Springfield Business Journal)

Denver-based consultant hired to run MidAmerica Airport
MidAmerica St. Louis Airport has hired aviation consultant Bryan Johnson as its new director. Previously, Johnson was director of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Denver and assistant director at Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Say that again

“The novel coronavirus in China highlights severe, longstanding, and unresolved vulnerabilities in our capacity to produce life-saving pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices for our own citizens. This is unacceptable.”

That’s U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley. The Missouri Republican released a letter Monday calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to address concerns about the American drug supply chain amid the coronavirus outbreak in China. The FDA estimates as much as 88% of active pharmaceutical ingredients in American drugs were made overseas in 2018, including about 14% from China, Reuters reports. Such a dependency on outsourced production has already sparked supply chain issues in industrial sectors, with companies turning to more expensive domestic suppliers. Citing a report by Axios that the coronavirus outbreak could threaten the supply of 150 prescription drugs, Hawley called on the FDA to act to prevent any such shortage.

Go figure


That’s how much Centene stocks plummeted Monday amid increasing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in China and the surge of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries for president, Reuters reports. Shares of the Clayton-based health insurer fell alongside other health insurance stocks Monday. The drop comes after Sanders won the Nevada caucuses Saturday with a nearly 20-point lead. At the center of Sanders’ campaign is his plan for “Medicare for All,” which creates a fair bit of uncertainty for Centene, a Medicaid powerhouse that recently acquired its rival WellCare for $17 billion. China’s coronavirus pandemic also likely influenced the drop as the disease spreads in countries outside China.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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