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For Kansas City Chiefs’ fans, residing in the dominant Missouri half of their city, it’s still a Patrick Mahomes shovel-pass away but sports betting has finally been legalised in the state of Kansas.
After years of waiting, Kansans will soon be able to legally wager on the Super Bowl and other sporting events under new legislation, Senate Bill 84, signed into law by Gov. Laura Kelly.
Non-Americans can be forgiven for not knowing that Kansas City sits astride two states.
Roughly speaking the larger eastern half—home to Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs–is in Missouri, while the smaller western sector lies in Kansas.
The distinction even foxed former US President Donald Trump, who congratulated the Chiefs, and “the great state of Kansas”, when Mahomes and company won Super Bowl 54 against the San Francisco 49ers in 2020, leading to umbrage, if not outrage, in Ozark country.
Of course Kansas City residents both sides of the states’ divide are proud of the Chiefs and Mahomes, who is arguably the most gifted quarterback currently playing American football – Tom Brady, formerly of the New England Patriots and now of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, included.
Under the new legislation, Kansas’s four state-owned land casinos will now be allowed to offer online, or in-person, sports betting.
They can partner with up to three iGaming operators each to launch mobile platforms.
Native American tribes will retain their betting primacy in the state.
And all sports wagering will be under the overall control of the Kansas State Lottery and Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission.
“Legalizing sports betting will bring more revenue to our state and grow our economy,” said Gov. Kelly. “This is another mechanism that casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment venues can now utilize to attract Kansans to their establishments.”
Players on the iGaming platforms will have to be physically located in Kansas to bet and must be at least 21-years-old.
Sports gambling in the state will be subject to a 10 per cent tax and is expected to raise up to US$5 million in revenue (£4.03m/€4.75m).
Addressing reality, state Republican Sen. Rob Olson, conceded: “I was excited to pass sports wagering in Kansas, it’s something that Kansans are already doing, and it will bring additional tax revenue to our state to help with our needs.
“My constituents have pushed for this legislation for years, and now, the next time we have a significant sporting event in our state, Kansans will be able to bet on their hometown team.”
Some 80 per cent of anticipated state revenue from legal sports betting is already earmarked to fund “a professional sports facility in Kansas”.
It remains an unorthodox Patrick Mahomes shovel-pass away. But whether it’s enough to lure the superstar quarterback and his winning Kansas City Chiefs across state lines remains to be seen.