Kansas Sports Betting Money Could Coax Chiefs, Royals Over the Border

Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday signed a bill that could help the Sunflower State emphasize the “Kansas” in Kansas City’s professional sports market.

Kansas lawmakers used a single-day special session June 18, to create a financing package that could poach the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and MLB’s Kansas City Royals. House Bill 2001 allows Kansas to issue Sales Tax and Revenue (STAR) bonds that would cover 70% of new stadium and ballpark construction.

The bonds would be paid back over 30 years through:

“By modifying the STAR bonds program, one of our strongest economic development mechanisms, lawmakers crafted a viable option for attracting professional sports teams to Kansas,” the governor said.

A Kansas-based football stadium and a new ballpark could cost about $4 billion combined. MLB and the NFL would also weigh in on relocation plans.

Missouri Opened the Door in April

Jackson County, Mo., voters had a chance to block the Kansas suitors when they went to the polls on April 2.

A plan to extend a three-eighths of a cent sales tax failed with 58% opposition, however. The 40-year sales tax extension would have covered about half of a $2 billion Royals stadium. The Chiefs would have received about $500 million toward an $800 million restoration effort at GEHA Field Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city would make “a good offer” to keep both teams in town. He also acknowledged that both franchises “are in an exceptional leverage position.”

Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City and the Kansas Speedway already pull KC’s Missouri sports fans over the border.

About 25 miles separate Missouri’s stadium district from the side-by-side soccer complex and speedway in Kansas. Missouri has about 60% of the metro area’s 2.3 million residents, however.

Missouri Can’t Match Kansas Sports Betting Money

By including Kansas sports betting revenue in the STAR bond incentive package, the Sunflower State has a card that Missouri can’t play.

Sportsbooks have collected about $3.9 billion in wagers since September 2022, when legal sports betting began in Kansas. The transactions generated about $340.1 million in revenue and $16.6 million in taxes through May 2024.

In contrast, Missouri is the nation’s fourth-largest untapped sports betting market. The Show-Me State has 16 excursion boat casinos, but sports betting isn’t an option online or at the Missouri casinos yet.


About the Author
Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell

Lead Writer
Russ Mitchell joined Gaming Today as a lead writer in February 2023 after joining Catena Media in 2021 as a managing editor for the PlayIA and PlayVA brands. He covers sports betting industry news market developments, the college sports betting industry, and the four major North American pro sports leagues. With 25+ years of journalism experience to Gaming Today. He is a five-time winner of the Iowa’s prestigious Harrison “Skip” Weber Investigative Reporting award, a two-time National Newspaper Association award winner and a 50-time Iowa Newspaper Association award winner.

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