Missouri Border a Sports Betting Hot Spot As Kansas Launches Online Wagering

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Kansas City is filled with people eager to make online sports bets. Only the ones on the west side of town have been able to do so legally, as Kansas officially launched its regulated sports betting market on Sept. 1.

On the east side of town in Missouri, would-be bettors are left with the decision of whether to commute across the border, wager in black markets, or lament that Missouri has yet to legalize sports betting after years worth of failed attempts. Either way, this latest border war is so far an easy win for Kansas.

According to data provided by GeoComply, the geolocation company that helps online sportsbooks limit online wagering to legal jurisdictions, nearly 340,000 unsuccessful attempts had been made by more than 12,000 unique sportsbook accounts to access the Kansas market from Missouri throughSept. 16.

Other data provided by GeoComply:

  • In just the first 8 hours from launch, GeoComply recorded more than 520,000 approved geolocation checks in the state of Kansas.
  • During that span, GeoComply blocked more than 16,000 attempts by individuals located in Missouri trying to access Kansas’s legal sportsbooks.
  •  60 percent of the blocked Missouri attempts were located in Kansas City, Mo.
  • 81% of geolocation checks were made on iOS devices.
  • The “unique sportsbook username” count in Kansas accounted for 6.7% of the state’s adult population, surpassing New York (3.3%) and Louisiana (3.6%) during their opening weekends.
  • Overland Park accounted for nearly 300,000 of the geolocation checks.


KC One of Largest US Metros With a Sports Betting Border

Kansas City, Portland, Ore., Louisville, Ky., and Memphis, Tenn. are the only cities among the 40 largest in the US to border a state where the sports betting laws are different. Sports betting is legal online in Oregon, but limited to tribal casinos across the Columbia River in Washington. There is no legal sports betting in Kentucky, but it is legal for retail and mobile online across the Ohio River in Indiana. Sports betting is available only online in Tennessee but restricted to retail casinos in Arkansas.

The Missouri half of Kansas City — where the Chiefs, Royals, most of the cool museums, and best burnt ends are — constitutes around 517,000 residents. Kansas City, Kansas — where Kansas Speedway and Sporting KC are — is home to about 160,000. The entire MSA includes about 2 million.

St. Louis, Mo., has only around 290,000 residents but sits across the Mississippi from East St. Louis, Ill., which has legal online sports betting. Interestingly, GeoComply’s heat map depicted scores of unsuccessful Kansas logins from the other side of the state.

Making the trip across the Mississippi is common among St. Louis bettors, Redditer 7yearlurkernowposter said:

“Someone I know drove over to the Casino Queen Parking Lot in East. St Louis, IL to put a $50 bet on the Cardinals winning the world series when the odds were something like 50:1 last month. Today they are less than half that and I still haven’t gotten off my arse to install the app and do the same. :(“

Six of the eight states bordered by Missouri have legalized sports betting in some form, four of them through state-wide mobile.


About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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