Kansas Sports Betting Bill Aims To Lure Kansas City Chiefs From Missouri

Where the Kansas City Chiefs call home in a few years could depend on what happens in the Missouri General Assembly within the next nine days.

The NFL franchise is one of six pro sports teams supporting the passage of a 2022 Missouri sports betting bill that would allow the teams and riverboat casinos to partner with mobile sportsbook operators. The bill (HB 2502) had sailed through the state House by a vote of 115-33 in March but was derailed last week by a filibuster in the Senate.

Kansas lawmakers, meanwhile, approved sports betting through legislation on April 28. That bill (SB 84) will fund incentives designed to lure pro teams to the state via a newly created “Attracting Professional Sports to Kansas Fund.”

The development in Kansas has some asking if sports betting legalization and related financial incentives there could eventually lure the Chiefs away from Missouri – especially if sports betting fails to pass in the current Missouri legislative session ending May 13.

It’s possible, considering the Chiefs have worked for nearly a year with casinos and fellow teams to bring legal sports betting to Missouri fans, but several factors are still at play.

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Chiefs President Confirms Kansas Is An Option

Chiefs President Mark Donovan left the door open to a potential Kansas move in comments he reportedly made during the NFL owners’ meeting on March 29. 

The comments were reported on March 29 by Sports Business Journal’s Ben Fischer, who said Donovan admitted at the meeting to look into opportunities across the state border.

“Pretty consistently, we get inquiries from the state of Kansas, (that) if you’re going to make a change, what if you brought the stadium here,” Fischer reported Donovan as saying. “So we’re looking at that as well.” 

Any move would likely be on hold for several years, though, if it happens at all. The Chiefs’ lease at Arrowhead Stadium won’t expire until 2031, Fischer reported. 

Also at issue is the performance of the Kansas sports betting market. How well the market performs would dictate, at least in part, how much money would go into the special fund to draw teams further west.

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Missouri Sports Betting Still Has A Chance

That said, the Chiefs aren’t counting out Missouri yet. Legal sports betting still has a chance at final passage in Missouri this spring if the Senate delivers a compromise bill in the next few days. 

That would allow both chambers to sign off on the compromise by the last day of the session on May 13. 

The Chiefs are certainly expected to push hard for a vote in the Senate in the coming days, as are the other teams and casinos with a stake in the legislation. Additional support comes from elected officials, not the least of whom is  Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Quinton Lucas. 

Lucas took to Twitter on March 29 with a show of goodwill toward the Chiefs after Donovan’s reported comments about Kansas at the NFL meeting earlier that day.

“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,” Lucas wrote.

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.