Without Legal Sports Betting for Super Bowl, Missouri Potentially Missed Out on Millions of Dollars

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Feb 14, 2023 07:00 PM
Without Legal Sports Betting for Super Bowl, Missouri Potentially Missed Out on Millions of Dollars

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs picked up a huge victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. It was a matchup that, according to multiple estimates, prompted Americans to legally wager more than $16 billion. And yet, because they remain without legal sports betting, Missouri won't see a single cent of that windfall.

In the interest of fairness, The Show-Me State isn't the only locale facing this predicament. More than half of the USA has some form of legal sports betting, but there are still more than a dozen that have yet to make the transition.

However, the future of sports betting in Missouri is especially pertinent at the moment—not just because it's expected to be addressed during the 2023 legislative sessions, but because they are home to the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The inability to accept bets on the NFL's big game represents a larger missed opportunity for them than anyone else. Sports betting revenue would have been flowing throughout the state in the lead-up to the Super Bowl.

In fact, sports betting revenue was flowing throughout the state. It just, you know, didn't stay inside the state. It headed elsewhere, mostly to Illinois. And the rough figures are astounding. But are they also big enough to get Missouri aboard the legal sports betting bandwagon? 

Missouri Residents Bet Millions of Dollars on the Super Bowl

Because Missouri is surrounded by states that actually have legal sports betting, their residents had the option of traveling to place their wagers. And as it turns out, many of them did just this.

“This year, we took in over a million dollars in bets, when you consider Saturday and Sunday,” said Mike Hastey, sportsbook manager at DraftKings at Casino Queen in Illinois, during an interview with Fox 2's Patrick Clark. “I think a lot of those bets are coming from Missouri residents coming across the border to place their bets on the Super Bowl, or any other sport that they’re interested in. When you look at it, a lot of the states that border Missouri have wagering that is legalized. And I think they’re losing out on a lot of that revenue that is going out in every direction of the state, so I do think they’re missing out.”

To say Missouri is missing out might be an understatement. States with comparable populations are raking in millions of dollars per year by taxing legal sports bets. Take sports betting in Colorado, as an example. They have an almost identical population to Missouri, and in 2022, they earned nearly $20 million in tax revenue from legal sports betting, according to SportsHandle.com.

Of course, this isn't a perfect comparison. There's no such thing. But it's instructive. Like Colorado, Missouri is home to plenty of professional sports teams, including the Chiefs, Kansas City Royals (MLB) and St. Louis Blues (NHL). So, this isn't a state with a limited sports market. They can expect legal wagering to be a lucrative business.

This latest Super Bowl proved as much. Mr. Hastey manages one sportsbook in Illinois, and he was referencing just one weekend. His "over a million dollars in bets" doesn't account for wagers placed before Super Bowl weekend, or for the action at other sportsbooks. It also doesn't factor in Missouri residents who placed bets online. Geotracking data prevents them from processing transactions with domestic odds providers, but there are alternatives. Plenty of reputable sites from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks, for instance, allow almost anyone in the United States to set up and service an account. There's no doubt a fair share of Missourians went the off-shore route—especially if they weren't with comfortable driving distance of sportsbooks located outside the state.

When Will Legal Sports Betting Come to Missouri?

Anyone waiting for sports betting to arrive in Missouri may soon see their patience pay off. After a 2022 sports betting bill failed to make it out of the Senate, another one has been proposed in 2023. And this Missouri sports betting bill has incited a bunch of optimism.

Still, a good amount of obstacles remain.

Lawmakers continue to haggle over the installment of video gambling terminals, otherwise known as VGTs. The Senate tried to fold them into last year's sports betting bill without the requisite bi-partisan support. That caused the entire piece of legislature to implode. Critics argue VGTs make gambling too accessible, and that their implementation is predatory, as they have a tendency to pop up in socioeconomically-challenged neighborhoods.

With so much tax revenue on the line, the smart money is on Missouri officials finding a middle ground. Constant reminders of all the state misses out on keep surfacing. Some have even speculated that Kansas, which has legal sports betting, will try to poach the Chiefs when their current lease is up because of Missouri's gambling policies. 

Losing one of the NFL's preeminent franchises is obviously an extreme consequence—and something most consider a long shot. But it's not like Missouri hasn't previously expressed interest in legal sports betting. The House of Representatives pushed through a sports betting bill just last year. There is clearly a significant amount of momentum on the subject. The question is: Can the terms of this year's sports betting bill be hammered out to the liking of both the House and Senate and approved in time for the 2024 election ballot? And will all the Super Bowl betting revenue Missouri missed out on incite additional urgency for all stakeholders? We should have the answer, for better or worse, in the next few months.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one works best for all of your sports betting needs: 

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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