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Missouri is the Show Me State and its neighbor Kansas has done just that by legalizing sports betting and showing residents of both states that regulating that existing activity is the best way to ensure safe wagers and payoffs as well as tax revenue from all the money being made there.
In the first eight hours that the Kansas legal sports betting market went live on September 1, Missouri gamblers made 16,000 illegal attempts to access those Sunflower State sportsbooks, a clear sign that those resident punters want Missouri lawmakers to get busy creating a market.
When asked about those cross-state attempts at wagering, Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said he’s “not good with it,” and Tweeted that creating legal sports betting market in Missouri will be “a priority of mine to rectify it in our upcoming regular session.”
— Caleb Rowden (@calebrowden) September 2, 2022
Smart move, especially when you consider that Kansas has designs on Missouri’s pro sports teams.
From the get go, Kansas lawmakers have made their intentions clear – the main goal of creating a legal sports betting market there is to lure pro sports teams from other states where that activity is still illegal (see Missouri) and they are earmarking tax revenue to fund those efforts.
Kansas is targeting the NFL’s KC Chiefs for re-location, that football franchise is currently based in Missouri, and as soon as their ownership made it clear they are thinking about a new stadium deal sometime soon, Gov. Laura Kelly has said she wants them to look in Kansas for that.
That won’t happen anytime soon – the Chiefs’ lease on its current home, Arrowhead Stadium, doesn’t expire until 2031 – but now that Kansas has launched legal sports betting for its residents while Missouri has not, the Wheat State has a generous head start.
Add seeing those 16,000 Missourians break the law in an attempt to legally gamble has Missouri lawmakers like Sen. Rowden ready to move forward on the issue.
Missouri lawmakers have had since May 2018 to legalize sports betting for state residents since that’s when the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA and turned that choice over to the individual states, but no matter how the issue has been raised, it’s just as quickly shut down.
What those same legislators are beginning to realize is that their resident gamblers are going to gamble even if they have to use unregulated offshore sportsbooks, illegal bookies, or travel to nearby Kansas where that activity is now legal, and all that money is traveling outside the state.
That’s multi-millions of potential tax revenue dollars that are being lost simply by not moving forward with the inevitable, and the fact that Kansas is already there but Missouri is not makes Sen. Rowden unhappy as he made clear to the local media recently:
I generally hate the state of Kansas in every way, shape and form. So to see them do something better than us, I don’t love.
It’s that type of in-the-gut emotion that could push this issue forward next legislative session in Missouri as more and more state lawmakers watch their Kansas Neighbor reap the rewards of getting there first.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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