Report Reveals 38,000-Plus Missourians Would Have Placed Bets In NFL Week 1

Written By Dan Holmes on September 13, 2023
Report shows thousands of Missourians were denied a chance to bet on NFL Week 1 games.

GeoComply, one of the industry’s leading geolocation gatekeepers, reports that 553,000 check-ins were reported by nearly 40,000 sportsbook account-holders in Missouri during Week 1 of the NFL season.

That figure represents by far the largest amount of traffic by would-be bettors in a state that does not have legalized sports wagering.

Missouri is surrounded by states that have legal betting markets, but football fans in the Show-Me State have no legal options to wager on the sport. That’s despite their team being the defending Super Bowl champions.

As a result, some sports betting app account-holders attempt to check-in and place wagers during the NFL season. GeoComply works with betting platforms to ensure users cannot place bets where it’s not legal to do so.

Nearly every state bordering Missouri offers legal sports betting

Despite several attempts at getting a sports betting bill passed in the last Missouri legislative session, legal Missouri sports betting remains just a pipe dream. There is some optimism that lawmakers get it done next year.

According to the GeoComply report, the 553,000 geolocation checks were made from more than 38,000 accounts in Missouri. GeoComply estimates the state is losing out on $59 million in tax revenue annually from not legalizing sports betting. That’s based on a tax rate of 15% on gross gaming revenue.

The report shows geolocation check-in data from six states lacking legal sports betting. Missouri’s total is more than twice the total of the next state, Mississippi, with 262,000. Mississippi is also bordered by several states with legal sports wagering markets.

“Missouri is literally surrounded by states with legal betting. With major population centers, like Kansas City and St. Louis, near the border of these states it’s no surprise that consumers think they can bet in Missouri, when it is perfectly legal for them to do so just a mile away,” John Pappas, SVP of Government and Public Affairs at GeoComply, told PlayMissouri. “It’s also safe to say that the popularity of the Kansas City Chiefs is driving strong consumer demand. It’s natural that sports fans will want to bet on their favorite teams. The reality is that these consumers who couldn’t place a bet in Missouri, either drove across the border to place the bet, or worse, they turned to an illegal online sportsbook based offshore with zero consumer protection and zero accountability to the state.”

Missouri is almost completely surrounded by states that allow sports betting.

  • Arkansas
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska
  • Tennessee

Of the states that border Missouri, only Oklahoma does not have a legal sports betting market.

Missourians desperately want to bet on their team

With lawmakers dragging their feet or hampered by obstacles to get sports betting legalized, private citizens are taking action. As PlayMissouri reported earlier this week, a Missouri attorney has filed paperwork to get an initiative on the ballot that would allow the question to be decided by voters.

A lack of legal sportsbooks in the state isn’t stopping the Kansas City Chiefs from participating in its relationship with betting partner DraftKings. Ramping up to Week 1, the Chiefs actively promoted odds at DraftKings.

The NFL is by far the most popular betting activity for sports wagering in the US. With the Chiefs having won two of the last four Super Bowls led by dynamic quarterback Patrick Mahomes, many football fans in the state are clamoring for the ability to wager on their favorite team. The popularity and rapid growth of sports betting across the country indicates that Missouri would likely see a flurry of betting activity around the Chiefs.

GeoComply saw a 56% increase in wagering on NFL Week 1 compared to the same time period in 2022. Online sports betting is by far the most attractive option. Their data show that 97% of all online sports wagering transactions in Week 1 were completed on a mobile device.

Photo by Ed Zurga/AP Photo
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a contributor for PlayMissouri with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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