The Show-Me State would like to be shown the money. On Sept. 1, the first day of legal sports betting in Kansas, GeoComply Solutions reported blocking 16K attempts to use mobile sports betting apps from Missouri. According to the location detection software and cybersecurity services provider, 60% of the blocked attempts came from Missouri’s portion of Kansas City, not far from its border with Kansas.
Anyone over age 21 is allowed to bet in Kansas, no matter what state they live in. However, they need to be located in Kansas while placing the bet. GeoComply said that a bettor’s location is verified several times while using sports betting apps, and more often the closer a bettor is to a state border.
Bordering on Anger
Five of the eight states Missouri shares a border with have legalized sports betting. Nebraska did it in 2021, though it still lacks regulations. Illinois and Tennessee legalized sports betting in 2020, Iowa and Arkansas in 2019. (Only in Kentucky and Oklahoma is sports betting not OK.) But Kansas’ addition to that list really rubs Missouri’s lack of sports betting in its residents’ faces.
Kansas City, which straddles the Missouri-Kansas border, is home to the NFL’s Chiefs franchise, which plays at Arrowhead Stadium on the Missouri side.
States of Confusion
Kansas City, Kans. (KCK) and Kansas City, Mo. have long been conjoined as the larger Kansas City metropolitan area. However, the two states comprising the metro have a history of contention — both over the city and other issues. (They were on opposing sides in the Civil War.)
The original Kansas City was incorporated by the State of Missouri in 1853 as the City of Kansas (after the Kansas River, named for the Kansa tribe). This was eight years before the State of Kansas even existed. On the river’s Kansas side, other settlements developed independently, including a group of small towns that incorporated as Kansas City, Kansas in 1872. This was reportedly done to capitalize on the name recognition of the other Kansas City, which was always larger. (Currently, it’s three times the size.)
In the 1870s, Kansas made numerous attempts to annex the Missouri side of Kansas City into their state, but failed. Now, with sports betting, it seems Kansas is having the last laugh. The new market is expected to create $1-$5M in annual revenue for the state.
When, If Ever, Will Missouri Legalize It?
Missouri state Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) has pledged to make the legalization of sports wagering a priority in the next legislative round. But disagreements over how have blocked that eventually before and may continue doing so. In May, state Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Caldwell) filibustered House Bills 2502 and 2556, which would have allowed Missouri’s 13 state-licensed commercial casinos to offer both brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and online sports betting apps.
Hoskins said he opposed the bills because they failed to legalize video gaming terminals in restaurants, bars, convenience stores and fraternal organizations. (Later, he tweeted that a proposal to his liking had been rejected by the state’s casinos.)
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