TOPEKA, Kan. — The NFL Draft kicks off Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, but the Kansas side of the metro area could also see major profit this week.

In an exclusive interview with Kansas Capitol Bureau, Governor Laura Kelly said the state is expecting a large economic impact.

“We expect well over $100 million economic impact… those are probably low-ball estimates,” Kelly said.

At least 300,000 people are expected to come to the Kansas City metro area. Hotels, restaurants and local businesses are preparing for the big event.

While fans can’t bet on the draft in Missouri, anyone staying on the Kansas side of the metro can bet legally.

“As soon as they land at the Kansas City Airport, they’re going to start getting digital ads that will let them know about the sports betting opportunities here in the state of Kansas and what other kinds of attractions we have here,” Kelly said.

The governor said Kansas City has been a hot spot for big events, drawing thousands of fans to a Super Bowl parade for the Kansas City Chiefs this year. Kelly said the area is also drawing the attention of other organizations.

Another major sporting event coming to the metro area in 2026 is the World Cup, expected to make a splash with thousands of soccer fans.

State officials in Kansas and Missouri have been working together to draw in major events and boost cash flow for both states.

“We’re open for anything and I think that’s so cool about what’s happened in the KC Metro Area…by teaming together, by working together, we’ve really created a recruitment team that’s been successful in bringing big events,” Kelly said.

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.