What First Year of Kansas Sports Betting Can Teach Missouri

What First Year of Kansas Sports Betting Can Teach Missouri
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

With two bills at various stages seeking to legalize sports betting in Missouri, it’s worth reflecting upon what the Show Me State can learn from its western neighbor.

With five months of reporting and nearly a billion in handle, it’s clear Kansas sports betting has punched above its weight class.

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The Sunflower State’s opening half-year of operations has shown industry insiders, such as B Global Managing Partner Brendan Bussmann, that Kansas betting apps have rewarded the state’s lawmakers for their gamble on wagering a year ago.

“Kansas pushed the envelope last year, being the last major state to surround Missouri (to approve sports betting),” Bussmann told BetKansas.com. “At this point (Missouri) has debated sports betting longer than any other state.

“As data shows, it (Kansas) continues to benefit from the border war with a number of Missourians leaving the state to place wagers in the Sunflower State.”

What Kansas Can Teach Missouri

Over in Jefferson City, Missouri lawmakers are debating their way through a series of wagering bills, including SB-30 and HB-556.

The senate legislation, which is sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, cleared its first hurdle last week, with the Appropriations Committee clearing it for a full vote in the chamber.

The house legislation is also onto bigger and better things, after the chamber’s Emerging Issues Committee passed HB-556 along to a full vote in the chamber.

Neither legislation has a date in front of the House or Senate but fared better than Sen. Denny Hoskins’ sports betting and video lottery terminal bill (SB-1), which died in committee last week.

Now, the pair of sports betting-only bills must clear their respective chambers before getting the chance to go into effect.

Bussmann isn’t sure the coast is clear for either bill, however, given the continuing push by longstanding members (like Hoskins) to include VLTs as part of any wagering legislation, which is a non-starter with the state’s casinos.

“Missouri’s challenge this year is the same as last year. Will sports betting be held hostage to VGTs?” Bussmann said. “Both issues need to be dealt with in a comprehensive bill. Let’s deal with both issues and listen to the constituents of Missouri that clearly want to see sports betting in the state.”

Keeping Up With The Jayhawks

While Kansas continues to rake in millions of tax dollars and gain the admiration of sports betting customers on both sides of the Missouri River, the Show Me State continues to lag behind.

Proof of that dichotomy was on full display during this year’s Super Bowl, where the Kansas City Chiefs knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35, as Kansas sportsbooks took centerstage.

According to geolocation firm GeoComply, the Sunflower State saw more than 2.1 million geolocation transactions statewide during the Super Bowl, while a quarter-million Missouri residents were blocked from betting in states like Kansas and Illinois during the contest.

All in all, the opening stretch Kansas sportsbooks have put forth highlights the impetus in getting Kansas sports betting in place last legislative cycle, Bussmann said.

Looking back, it’s clear Kansas won the sports betting war of 2022, with the state continuing to move forward while Missourians are forced to wait and see if lawmakers will get the job done in 2023.

“All we heard in last year’s legislature was how the mythical bird wasn’t going to get it done,” Bussmann said. “Well, it did and right now the Jayhawks are beating the Tigers in so many ways by offering sports betting and consumer protections.”

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Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetKansas.com specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years.

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