Of nearly $3 billion wagered on legalized sports betting in Kansas, state government has received barely $12 million in revenue
by Blaise Mesa
- Missouri residents can make legal sports bets visiting Kansas casinos or using their betting apps — when they’re within the state’s borders.
- Bettors have wagered nearly $3 billion in legal sports bets since legalization. The state has taken home around $12 million.
- The Missouri General Assembly has been considering legalized sports betting for five years.
The Kansas City Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl, which means millions more will be wagered in Kansas on the game.
But sports betting remains illegal in Missouri — lawmakers continue to wrangle on a law that would change that — and bettors regularly travel to Kansas to wager on who might win the big game in Las Vegas.
Bistate sports bets
Missourians can legally bet on sports in Kansas. Sports betting is tied to where the bet is made. So Missourians can simply drive to one of the four Kansas casinos that offer sports betting: the Kansas Speedway in Wyandotte County, Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel in Pittsburg, Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane and Boot Hill Casino and Resort in Dodge City.
Those same bettors could also drive to Kansas and bet through an app or website. The app will use the device’s location, so the bettor has to be in the state of Kansas for any wager to go through.
Does Kansas lose money if the Chiefs win?
Kansas and Missouri gamblers are more likely to bet on a Chiefs victory, what color the Gatorade will be when it is poured on the winning coach or how much screen time Taylor Swift could have on the broadcast.
But if a vast majority of fans bet the Chiefs will win and they beat the San Francisco 49ers, does the state lose money? No. Sports betting companies risk losing the money.
How much does Kansas make on sports bets?
Bettors wagered $2.8 billion in Kansas on sports from September 2022 through December 2023. Kansas has brought in $12.2 million of that.
In February 2023, when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, gamblers put down $194 million on sports. The state took home $1,134 of that.
The state has been criticized for its law legalizing betting, but the state is stuck. Some lawmakers who want to amend Kansas law to give state government a larger share of the take. But that could trigger lawsuits from casinos, some of which have signed five-year contracts.
“So if we try to call back the percentage … (so it’s) more respectable for the taxpayers at least, (the sportsbooks) would sue,” Rep. Paul Waggoner, a Hutchinson Republican, told The Beacon last year. “They said ‘all hell would break loose’ if we actually tried to do that.”
Where does that money go?
The first $750,000 in sports bets goes to the White Collar Crime Fund. After that, 2% goes to the Problem Gambling Addictions Grant Fund, 80% is sent to a fund to attract professional sports teams to Kansas, and the remaining 18% goes to the state general fund.
Of the $2.8 billion in wagers, around $2.2 million has gone to the state general fund to be used however lawmakers see fit. The governor has released her budget recommendations, and that $2.2 million could fund only 5% of a proposed emergency housing program. It could also fund the salaries of 93 of the state’s 165 legislators.
How close has Missouri come to sports betting?
The Missouri General Assembly has debated legalizing sports betting for five years. Bills allowing betting passed the Missouri House in 2021, 2022 and 2023, but they all died in the Missouri Senate. Senators have tried to tie legalized sports betting to legalizing lottery video games in bars and truck stops.
The debate comes down to this: One side wants sports betting but isn’t planning to legalize lottery video games. The other side wants sports betting and the video games so bars and truck stops can benefit from legal gambling. Both Republicans and Democrats want legal sports betting.
Multiple bills pending in the Missouri General Assembly would legalize betting. One of those bills includes a provision to legalize the video terminal machines. It isn’t clear what could happen with those bills, but the betting odds is another year without action.
That’s led professional sports teams in Missouri to try and legalize gambling through a ballot initiative. Six professional sports teams — including the Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Blues and Cardinals — are trying to drum up enough signatures to put sports betting on the ballot this November. Once on the ballot, sports betting would only need a majority of Missourians to approve the practice.
Where can I get help for sports betting addiction?
This article was republished here with the permission of: The Wichita Beacon