Legal Sports Betting Could Keep Chiefs, Royals In Missouri

Written By Jack McGee on November 30, 2022
Missouri sports teams want sportsbooks

We talk a lot about state legislatures, taxes and gambling here at PlayMissouri. When a state gets so deep into the numbers and proposed bills, it’s often easy to forget what sports betting is all about: the sports.

KC Chiefs, Royals support legal sports betting

Major sports teams, whether collegiate or professional, are the backbone of sports betting. State lawmakers may have forgotten that, however, when they failed to pass legislation last session to legalize Missouri sports betting.

Missouri legislators have expressed frustration over watching other states (read: Kansas) bring in taxpayers’ dollars from sports betting – which they can use to invest in much-needed state programs.

Similarly, Missouri sports teams and colleges have grown equally frustrated watching opponents bring in additional revenue and increased viewership while Missouri sports betting remains sidelined.

Royals eyeing a new home in downtown KC

Earlier this year, the Kansas City Royals joined fellow professional sports teams across Missouri in endorsing sports betting bills that were all eventually thwarted in the Missouri Senate. 

As it so happens, John Sherman, the relatively new owner of the franchise, is looking to replace the aging and beloved Kauffman Stadium, which was built in 1973. He seeks a new ballpark in downtown Kansas City at the conclusion of the team’s current lease, which ends in 2030.

An open letter from Sherman reads:

“As you may already know, it’s become challenging to maintain The K. When its current lease with Jackson County concludes at the end of this decade, it will be 60 years old. The renovations required at The K to achieve our objectives would cost as much or more than the price tag to develop a new ballpark.”

Sherman went into further detail about the “benefits” a new stadium would bring to the city center. Research, though, refutes some of the “advantages” of pricey new stadiums.

A new stadium offers new opportunities for some … and new headaches for others. In a burgeoning sports betting industry, both investors and bettors may find themselves on the side of opportunity. In a world where sports betting is legal in Missouri, a sportsbook next to a downtown Royals stadium is a tangible possibility. 

While there could certainly be some pushback from the state Legislature, Kansas City may find itself backed into a corner.

Future home of the Chiefs in question

Kansas City Chiefs home games take place at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. It sits next to Kauffman Stadium in the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex. Arrowhead is similar in age to Kauffman. It opened a year earlier, in 1972

The Chiefs’ contract with the stadium doesn’t conclude until 2031, but in the world of professional sports stadiums, that’s not a long time. And if the city – and the state – want to keep the Chiefs in Missouri, time is running short

Mark Donovan, president of the Chiefs, has said several times that the team is exploring options. Those include renovating Arrowhead, building an entirely new stadium at the Truman Sports Complex or finding a whole new location.

The Chiefs have received multiple inquiries from the state of Kansas developers regarding a possible move.

With swirling speculation over whether the Chiefs will jump to the Kansas side, Missouri likely has a fight ahead in keeping its last remaining NFL team.

Betting could ensure Chiefs, Royals stay in Missouri

KC Mayor Quinton Lucas took to Twitter to express his desire to keep the Chiefs in Missouri.

“Kansas City has proudly hosted the Chiefs since the early 1960s. We look forward to working with the Chiefs, our state of Missouri partners and local officials to ensure the Chiefs remain home in Kansas City and Missouri for generations to come.”

Of course, keeping a multi-billion dollar NFL team in the city and state is beyond Lucas’ power, and his time. The mayor is limited to two terms. He will be out of office by the time the Chiefs’ lease with Arrowhead ends.

There are multiple factors to consider in order to keep the Chiefs and Royals in Missouri. Indeed, the legalization of sports betting is an obvious step that lawmakers could take to nudge the teams to stay.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Jack McGee

Jack, a Missouri State University journalism alum, has primarily covered government and politics with the Springfield Daily Citizen, which has contributed in keeping an eye out for what the Missouri legislature is up to when it comes to sports betting and other regulated forms of gaming. More of his work can be found at

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