KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City expects the Big 12 Men’s and Women’s Championships to bring $21 million in economic impact to the metro.
Then two weeks later the NCAA’s Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in the Midwest Regional will also be hosted at T Mobile Center.
Starting Wednesday, areas around T Mobile and Power and Light will be filled with fans from across the Midwest watching some of the games on the big screens before they maybe head into their session. But if they want to place a bet they have to head over the bridge to Kansas.
Since Kansas launched sports betting in September companies have been tracking Missouri’s interest in sports betting.
A Saint Louis University/YouGov poll last week found only 35% of Missourians thought sports betting should be legal with 24% still undecided.
But GeoComply tracked a quarter million sports betting attempts made during the Super Bowl from Missouri.
“There’s a lot of data that shows Missourians are hopping the border. The second you get a foot into Kansas your Draft Kings your Fan Duel app it’s going to work on your phone,” Robert Robert Linnehan, sports betting regulatory reporter at XLMedia and Sports Betting Dime, said.
One of the first businesses you come to across the bridge from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to Kansas City, Kansas, is Slap’s BBQ.
“We see people coming in on their lunch breaks sitting in their car eating a sandwich placing some sports bets on their phone,” Slap’s co-owner Joe Pearce said.
The restaurant is always busy with fans who come to Kansas City for basketball and barbecue. Now with sports betting they expect to be even busier.
“Starting on Wednesday, when that first game hits Wednesday, Thursday, Friday it kind of feels like a Friday Saturday Sunday of a Super Bowl when the Chiefs win. There’s just people lined down the street wearing their favorite school colors,” Pearce said.
Video lottery terminals that seemed to block Missouri sports betting bills in the past when they were lumped in have now been separated.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling problem, help is available.
Find resources from the Kansas Behavioral Health Services, Kansas Gambling Help, or call the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700.
“There’s a clear path here how they want to legalize sports betting. It’s just a matter of getting that bill over the finish line,” Linnehan said.
Between the two men’s tournaments there’s a dozen games at T Mobile Center over the next couple weeks people in Kansas can bet on, or you can bet on overall tournament winners.
The betting favorites in the Big 12 Men’s Championship are the defending National Champion Kansas Jayhawks.