KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas City-area business owners and sports arenas are weighing in on the conversation with legalized sports gambling coming to Kansas as early as this fall.
So what does that mean when you walk into a Kansas restaurant and want to throw down a little money on the Chiefs?
Sports betting is now legal in the Sunflower State.
People standing in Kansas can place a wager. Even if you live in Missouri, you can cross State Line Road and make a bet in Kansas.
Owners and presidents of stadiums, bars and restaurants in Kansas are excited about what this means for the fan experience.
“The state line, there’s a magic shield,” Johnny’s Tavern partner Kyle Witherspoon said.
They have 12 locations on both sides of the state line.
He’s hoping this addition to the ambiance draws in sports fans, even if it’s only to one of his eight Kansas restaurants. Missouri has yet to legalize sports betting.
“We have great wings, cold beer, big screen TVs and then maybe a kiosk that on a Chiefs Sunday or basketball season, people could place a wager if they wanted to,” Witherspoon said.
He said they can do that by teaming up with a state casino.
Of course, people can always just make a wager on their phones at a table.
In the stands at Children’s Mercy Park, Sporting KC President and CEO Jake Reid said sports gambling opportunities will be mostly online.
The new legislation also allows them to have kiosks and actual stations within the stadium.
“I think in terms of the in-stadium experience, we’re looking at what spaces can, is there any area that we can convert over to be some sort of lounge,” Reid said. “Are there areas where it’s easy for fans to walk up and access and get the information they need.”
Reid said Sporting has a good longterm relationship with Hollywood Casino.
The four state casinos expect anywhere between $9-45 million in revenue.
“When there’s tax revenue out there to gain,” Witherspoon said, “I think it’s a smart idea for states to take advantage of things.”
After the first $750,000 in tax revenue, 80% of funds will be set aside to recruit professional sports teams to Kansas, which makes rumors about the Chiefs receiving offers to cross state lines a little more interesting.
On top of that, Missouri lawmakers made no Hail Mary passes to bring sports betting to their state as they adjourned this week.
Kansas stadium leaders are happy to have a final decision in play.
If you’ve experienced the Cauldron, you know Sporting Kansas City is all about fan engagement. Reid is excited about what’s to come.
“It’s an added layer of attention and support and excitement around it, when you’re talking about your sport,
your club, your stadium your team, it’s exciting,” Reid said.
“We want this to be a positive fun experience for the fans whether you’re in stadium there wagering on whatever that match happening in front of you is, or another sport ongoing and you’re able to do it on that.”
Sporting Kansas City doesn’t see making anything official until 2023. But the state could approve certain venues for sports gambling as early as September or October.