JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Both Missouri and Kansas state legislatures may be close to passing bills to legalize sports gambling. However, it seems as though the bill on the Kansas side might have unforeseen consequences for Missouri sports fans.
The Missouri senate is picking up speed on potential sports gambling legalization in Missouri. After a public hearing on Wednesday, the senate chose to postpone action on the bill until later in the legislative session. The Missouri House passed the bill on a 115-33 vote in March.
The bill on the Missouri side gained traction recently as a result of Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III testifying in favor of the bill.
“All the pro sports teams in Missouri support sports wagering as a way to increase engagement with our fans and provide a fun and exciting new way to enjoy sports and our teams, which are such ingrained members of our communities,” DeWitt III said at a House hearing.
Kansas’ sports gambling bill is in a similar stage, being passed in the house and now waiting for a Senate vote. However, their bill contains a provision that will earmark 80% of the state tax revenue from the gambling sphere to go toward building a professional sports facility.
This raised some eyebrows, seeing as the state of Kansas has only one professional sports franchise in MLS team Sporting Kansas City, who already has a relatively new stadium. Therefore, building a professional sports facility would likely be for the purpose of attracting a new professional sports team.
Considering recent rumors, this has led many to believe that the 80% of revenue is intended to be put towards incentives to get the Kansas City Chiefs to move their stadium across the state border.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has repeatedly spoken out against the team moving to the Kansas side.
“Kansas City has proudly hosted the Chiefs since the early 1960s,” Lucas said in a tweet. “We look forward to working with the Chiefs, our state of Missouri partners, and local officials to ensure the Chiefs remain home in Kansas City and Missouri for generations to come.”
Since 2019, Missouri and Kansas have had a truce of sorts that they would not use economic subsidies to poach employers from each other. Recently, the truce has been broken on a few occasions, and it seems as though it could be no more if Kansas’ sports betting bill goes through.