Sports Betting Could Help Kansas Snatch Chiefs, Royals

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

The state of Kansas is one step closer to luring both the Chiefs and Royals across the river and the Sunflower State is citing sports betting as one of the components to landing one or both teams.


Bipartisan legislative supermajorities approved a measure to authorize state bonds to help finance new stadiums and practice facilities for both teams on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area of 2.3 million residents, which is split by the border with Missouri.  The Royals and Chiefs play along side each other in the much more populous Kansas City, Missouri.  Much of the metropolitan area, including a smaller separate Kansas City, is located in the state of Kansas.  The current facility lease expires on 2031.

Three Super Bowl victories in five years — and player Travis Kelce’s romance with pop icon Taylor Swift — have made the Chiefs perhaps the area’s most celebrated civic asset.

The plan from the Republican-controlled Legislature goes next to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. While she stopped short of promising to sign it, she said in a statement that “Kansas now has the opportunity to become a professional sports powerhouse.”

“We’re excited about what happened here today,” Korb Maxwell, an attorney for the Chiefs who lives on the Kansas side, said at the Statehouse after the bill cleared the Legislature. “This is incredibly real.”

The approval capped a two-month push to capitalize on the refusal in April by voters on the Missouri side to continue a local sales tax used to finance the upkeep of the teams’ stadiums.

The votes on the Kansas stadium-financing plan were 84-38 in the state House and 27-8 in the Senate. Lawmakers from across the state — even western Kansas, far from any new stadium — supported the measure.

It would allow state bonds to cover up to 70% of each new stadium, paying them off over 30 years with revenues from sports betting, state lottery ticket sales and new sales and alcohol taxes collected from shopping and entertainment districts around the new stadiums.


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